All companies must close their books at the end of every quarter and
fiscal year. Historically that’s been a painful, time-consuming
process. Help is on the way with ServiceNow® Finance Close Automation,
recently previewed during the Knowledge 2019 keynotes in Las Vegas.
We also held breakout presentations on the conference show floor to
discuss this new technology, which will be available in our next
product release – New York – in the third quarter of 2019.
So, what is it and what does it do?
reminds us, an organisation’s close period is the time between the
completion of a listed company's financial results and the
announcement of these results to the public. Typically, the close
period is the month preceding the release of a company's quarterly
results, and thetwo-month period before the release of its annual results.
Tedious & time-consuming
Most organisations use a
series of electronic – but essentially still manual – processes,
including emails and spreadsheets, to manage each of their financial
close periods. Largely because of these disconnected platforms,
applications and information streams, the month end financial close
period is often one of the most tedious and time-consuming aspects of
modern work.Our product is ServiceNow Finance Operations Management, and Finance Close
Automation is the first application to come from it. Built
specifically for the office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO),
Finance Close Automation is designed to reduce risk, accelerate the
whole process from start to finish, and increase team satisfaction.
The solution is a natural extension of our digital workflows, built
on the capabilities of the Now Platform. In an enterprise technology
stack, it sits alongside a company’s Enterprise Resource Planning
(ERP) system as a complementary toolset.
NowX concept developments
Our Chief Product Officer
Desai has explained the inspiration for this innovation.
“The idea for Finance Close Automation was conceived by our former
Corporate Controller, Amir Jafari, when he envisioned harnessing the
power of the Now Platform to improve our manual finance close
process,” said Desai. “Jafari led a team that began innovating the
Finance Close Automation app; this team paved the way for NowX, our
internal group focused on developing new concepts for products."
Finance Close Automation is the inaugural product coming to market
from NowX. In addition, Amir now leads our business unit responsible
for Finance Operations Management.
At ServiceNow we do eat our own dogfood (I would prefer to say that
we drink our own champagne). We used the Finance Close Automation app
forour own quarter- and year-end close processes throughout its
developmental phase. By using the app, we were able to validate it and
augment its functionality.
PayPal proof of concept
Digital payments leader PayPal
is an early adopter of this technology and has already seen positive results.
“The ServiceNow Finance Close Automation app is an innovative new
solution that brings together all aspects of the finance close
process, enabling simplification, transparency, better controls and
greater efficiency,” said Aaron Anderson, PayPal’s Chief Accounting
Officer and Vice President. “With its entry into the finance arena, we
believe ServiceNow will make a meaningful impact on finance
Deloitte, the lead launch partner for the product, also shares our
passion for innovation and acceleration of operational efficiencies.
“Working with ServiceNow, we’re helping clients drive digital
transformation across their organisations. We are particularly excited
to help mutual clients like PayPal realise the potential of enterprise
service transformation by extending workflow capabilities to the
finance close process,” said April Slovensky, Principal, Deloitte
I want to be a lion tamer!In Monty Python’s
famous accountancy sketch, the accountant wants to become a lion
tamer because he’s bored with office work. Today, accounting pros
want to be able to fulfil their fiduciary responsibilities without
struggling with cumbersome, poorly engineered processes such
asconnecting emails to spreadsheets to financial reports and back to
financial close reports.
ServiceNow Finance Close Automation may not enable finance
professionals to spend more time taming lions. However it will allow
finance departments to consolidate knowledge, policies and processes.
In turn, that will free up resources that companies can use to build
innovations that will help them compete in the marketplace.