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Making a Business Case
for Intelligent Finance

CFOs Discuss the Benefits

Intelligent Finance
Enables the Strategic CFO

Transformative and intelligent technologies such as in-memory processing, machine learning, predictive analytics, cloud, and others are changing the way finance professionals work and increasing the value finance brings to the organization. These innovations are driving process efficiencies through increased automation and simplification, freeing finance professionals to spend more time focusing on more-strategic work that improves the overall performance of the enterprise.

Keeping Pace in a Disruptive
Business Environment

A recent Economist study found that CFOs and senior finance executives are concerned with their ability to keep up with the pace of change and adapt quickly to changes in the business environment.1 In fact, respondents cited the following as their top challenges when executing day-to-day activities.

The top four concerns of finance professionals

Adapting to unexpected changes to financial forecasts

Adapting to rapidly evolving business models

Aligning strategic, financial, and operational plans

Analyzing data across the business to develop cost containment strategies

8 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 75 80 82 84 86 89

Agreed that finance should facilitate collaborative enterprise planning across the company to ensure operational plans are aligned with financial and strategic plans

1. “Steering Through Collaboration”, survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited, 2018.

Empowering the CFO

Today’s CFO must be prepared and equipped to help the business respond and evolve to a changing business landscape. As the Economist survey revealed, companies in which finance executives feel empowered to drive strategic decisions across business functions were more likely to have a higher financial performance in financial year (FY) 2016–2017 and FY 2017–2018 and anticipate higher growth rates for FY 2019–2020.2

Percentage of respondents who feel empowered to drive
strategic decisions and its impact on performance

FY 2016–2017
FY 2017–2018
performance expectation
FY 2019–2020
Revenue growth above 10%
Revenue decline by more than 10%
2. “Steering Through Collaboration”, survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited, 2018.

Changing the Way Work Is Done

To keep pace in this dynamic business and technology environment, CFOs are choosing an intelligent ERP with SAP S/4HANA as the foundation of their company’s digital core.

SAP S/4HANA can help empower your finance team to change the way work is done and the value it brings across the enterprise by enabling the following.

A rock-solid foundation of finance, risk, and compliance processes based on a single source of the truth

Intelligent technology innovations to drive finance transformation and business improvement

A flexible and accelerated innovation adoption path

A modern user experience offered in the cloud or on premise

Building a Rock-Solid Foundation
for Intelligent Finance

With SAP S/4HANA, companies can gain the ultimate business advantage with an intelligent, next-generation ERP system. It consolidates financial, managerial, and operational data in a unified in-memory system that accelerates performance with real-time processes and analytics deployed in the cloud, on premise, or in a hybrid model. The result is a rock-solid digital core to address end-to-end finance needs.

Financial planning and analysis:

Accelerate planning cycles and enable decisions based on real-time insights

Accounting and finance close:

Automate complex closing cycles and consolidate with direct access to the required transactions

Treasury management:

Optimize working capital with forward-looking insights into cash flow, risk, and liquidity

Financial operations:

Deliver superior service and collaboration that streamlines core finance processing across receivables, payables, real estate, tax, and travel management

Governance, risk, and compliance (GRC):

Safeguard your company and processes with embedded GRC and cybersecurity controls and monitoring

Real-World Examples

As more and more companies adopt SAP S/4HANA, there are ample real-world examples of how it enables intelligent finance processes and empowers the strategic CFO.

Click to see examples that pertain to your industry or line of business.

Transforming Finance with
Intelligent Innovations

Maintaining momentum in the evolution of finance requires an investment in intelligent technologies that enable innovation. Integrating these innovations into core finance processes empowers support across all areas of the business to develop insights not possible until now, and it transforms that insight into foresight.

Explore intelligent finance applications that increase automation and efficiency and drive business transformation, which empowers finance to fulfill the strategic role.

Take a Closer Look at Embedded Intelligent Finance Innovations

Critical resource-intensive tasks work exponentially more efficiently than ever or than any human could. Example: The SAP Cash Application software uses machine learning to learn from historical data to continuously find efficiencies and clear payments automatically.

Analyze actuals, forecasts, and simulations to predict market trends and future results. Example: SAP S/4HANA Cloud enables predictive accounting and closing by predicting critical KPIs with an audit trail back to actual transactions in the system that are not yet GAAP-posting relevant.

Machine learning and predictive analytics automatically detect suspicious entries to drive down risk. Example: The SAP Business Integrity Screening application detects and ranks data suggesting fraud or noncompliance with corporate policies.

Digital assistants provide voice-activated, in-context support in your applications to boost workers’ productivity. Example: The SAP CoPilot digital assistant drives intelligent receivables management in SAP S/4HANA by boosting collaboration and shortening time to access relevant data for critical business processes and decisions.

How You Benefit

Seventy-three percent of finance leaders agree that automation is improving the finance function’s efficiency at their company, giving its executives more bandwidth for value-added tasks.

Source: Oxford Economics

Predictive analytics software is guaranteed to produce a ROI. What’s even better? The ROI compounds. The more you use it, the greater the return.

Source: SAP performance benchmarking

An organization’s typical occupational fraud loss is 50% of its annual revenue.

Source: Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

By 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse.

Source: Gartner

Take an Accelerated and
Flexible Path
to Innovation Adoption

Whether you’re upgrading your current SAP software landscape, moving to the cloud, already using SAP HANA, or starting a completely new implementation, you need experts who can guide you on your journey to SAP S/4HANA Finance. The SAP Digital Business Services organization works with you to determine the right strategy, road map, and architecture to maximize solution value.

For companies with very comprehensive ERP, finance, and other system landscapes – or those that want to keep existing systems intact – we offer SAP S/4HANA for central finance foundation (see the figure on the next page). This option helps facilitate and accelerate the transition path to SAP S/4HANA Finance without requiring changes to your existing systems. It supports a multi-ERP enterprise environment while enabling real-time reporting, harmonization, planning, and consolidation. You can migrate processes at your own speed to reduce your number of systems over time.


SAP S/4HANA for Central
Finance Foundation


Process Migration


Figure: Implementing SAP S/4HANA Finance with SAP S/4HANA for Central Finance Foundation

See how Hershey accelerated its journey to finance transformation and innovation adoption with SAP S/4HANA for central finance foundation.

Discover how Enel chose SAP S/4HANA for central finance foundation to update and streamline its financial closing process, focusing on one simple goal: get the most reliable data as quickly as possible.

Sapphire NOW event video Business transformation study

Agility and Digital Innovation in the Cloud

The cloud is quickly becoming the preferred software deployment method for many businesses – and for good reason. It brings opportunity for standardization and automation without the cost or complexity of customizing software or maintaining infrastructure.

Continuous innovation

  • Stay agile with rapid innovation cycles
  • Get the latest capabilities and best practices
  • Keep up with regulatory changes


  • Accelerated go-live and user adoption
  • Rapid global deployments
  • Flexibly scaled to new business needs

Predictable, lower total cost of ownership

  • Shift from capital expenditure to operational expenditure
  • Reduced need of IT administrative tasks
  • No infrastructure investment needed

Simple, reliable, and safe

  • Easy to configure and extend
  • Fully managed by a trusted third party
  • Complete data security and protection

Read Why Companies Are Choosing SAP S/4HANA Cloud as Part of Their Finance Transformation.

C2 International: As a growing company with disparate systems, C2 implemented SAP S/4HANA Cloud to simplify its accounting and financial processes all around the globe. Now, the global event producer is using cloud technology to reimagine the business conference experience.

Experis Ciber: By using SAP S/4HANA Cloud, IT consultancy Experis Ciber is inspiring its clients with knowledge of its cloud system. Now, it can deliver better service, including superior insight into project profitability and faster closing, which frees time for more client-focused activities.

Take the Next Step on Your
Journey to Intelligent Finance

To keep pace with today’s increasingly complex, competitive, and global marketplace, finance organizations are building functionality to achieve optimal insight and agility. CFOs are transforming their organizations to take on a more strategic role and are turning to intelligent technologies to help create greater value. SAP S/4HANA supports finance executives in this transformation.

SAP S/4HANA integrates every business process, turns real-time data into actions, and increases employee productivity – with the security you expect from SAP – enabling you to innovate, transform, and run ahead. See how it can help you consolidate financial, managerial, and operational data into a single source and accelerate performance with real-time processes and analytics.