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Financials 2010 Keynote Address: Finding the silver lining within global finance challenges

by Kristin Bent

November 11, 2010

It’s Day 2 here at Financials 2010 in Barcelona, and the SAP Keynotes just wrapped up. The Financial address, given by Martin Naraschewski, the Vice President of Finance Solutions at SAP AG, explored the concept of the “New Normal” in the finance world.

Martin used the term “New Normal” to describe the current financial climate, in light of the slowly-recovering (yet still-struggling) global economy. Of course, this “New Normal” implies challenges. CFOs, facing drastic budget cuts, are feeling a strong sense of personal responsibility to more efficiently manage risk, comply with financial reporting regulations, and push their businesses forward.

These financial challenges, Martin explained, shouldn’t be viewed in an entirely negative light. They should, instead, drive CFOs to adopt new, more efficient means of doing business. They should be looked as opportunities, rather than painpoints. They should drive you to consolidate business processes and improve financial reporting initiatives. They should lead you to make the most of your global teams, and go "back to business basics” (building relationships, for example, or ensuring you’re pricing is on target).

Martin provided detailed examples of how the SAP financial team, facing the challenges of the “New Normal” themselves, turned the negatives into positives. The down-turned economy nudged them to create a new shared services cente r in Prague (now handling more than 80% of their transactional volume) and successfully migrate from US GAAP to IFRS.

The keynote concluded with an overview of the SAP solutions available to help your team turn these financial challenges into opportunities for growth and business process improvement. SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation, the Shared Services Interaction Center, and the SAP Financial closing cockpit were highlighted.

Martin’s address was an optimistic one. At some level – whether part of a financial team or not – we’ve all felt the blow of the economic shift over the past few years. Now, it’s just a matter of moving forward. Afterall, isn’t it the hardships we face that make us stronger in the end?

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