New generation of CFOs “expect apps to be simple”

New generation of CFOs “expect apps to be simple”

The pandemic has accelerated this further, with finance teams working remotely and using more technology day-to-day

New generation of CFOs “expect apps to be simple”

The decreasing age barrier for senior roles in finance functions means that the onus is on software platforms to be straightforward and easy to use, according to Claus Finderup Grove, CEO at Danish FinTech company Konsolidator.

“The new generation of CFOs coming through are a different age profile now, so they expect apps to be simple,” he says.

“What they’re using at home is simple and intuitive, so they absolutely expect the same from the products they’re using at work.”

Finderup Grove argues that this is one of the key driving forces behind Konsolidator – a cloud-based financial consolidation and reporting software platform for small to mid-size organisations. Founding the platform on simplicity and user-friendliness is critical in appealing to the SME market, he says.

“Simplicity is key when it comes to creating software for small and mid-size companies. It makes it cheaper and means that it demands fewer human resources for onboarding and maintaining it.

“The companies we are targeting maybe have a finance function of one or two people – they can’t allocate a project team of five people to consolidate statements for a period of two or three months. Our market does not have those resources.”

Finderup Grove also argues that the SME market is ripe for tools such as Konsolidator. He attributes much of this to the technological advancements that have occurred in recent years, noting that such financial tools did not exist during his years as a CFO and financial controller.

“Twenty years ago, software in general was too expensive and demanded too many resources. But with cloud technology coming in and taking over, we saw all kinds of smart apps that were very compatible with the mid-size market.

“The last two years has accelerated this adoption even further. It’s now at the top of the boardroom agenda, and that’s the reason why we stay very focused in this market – there’s huge potential, and we believe we can actually deliver great value to these companies.”

This is a shift that has become evident as Covid-19 continues to shift ways of working. According to one study, more than half (51 percent) of UK business leaders stated that their shift to a cloud-based business model has saved their company during the pandemic.

In addition, it found that 60 percent now plan to substantially increase their use of cloud-based IT through the pandemic and beyond.

Finderup Grove argues that tools such as Konsolidator should, in theory, have a similarly powerful impact on finance functions with organisations, detailing what he believes to be the critical selling points of the platform.

“Instead of spending your time producing numbers, you now have something that automates it so you can spend your time using the numbers. That cuts costs for the business,” he says.

“This isn’t something that’s going to come in and change everything. This is a small thing we can add to help produce a big result at the end.”

He also notes the potential pitfalls of sticking to traditional consolidation methods, citing human error in particular as a common and potentially detrimental pitfall.

“Spreadsheets can be fine, but the chance of mistakes coming into play when you’re consolidating lots of data is high, no matter how good it is,” he says.

“If you’ve had a finance guy sitting in a company for the past 10 years, and he’s done that process four times a year, he’s probably pretty strong when it comes to his own spreadsheets. But you can see where the risk comes from if suddenly, this person isn’t there anymore, and someone else has to come in and look at these spreadsheets.”

He also notes the risk associated with sudden and unexpected events that occur within organisations, whether that be a period of acute growth or the addition of new subsidiaries.

“When something like this happens, you can become pretty fragile in your manual way of working.”

Finally, Finderup Grove argues that to a degree, Konsolidator’s Danish roots are closely tied to its brand identity, with the company now belonging to a burgeoning ecosystem of fintechs originating in Denmark.

Firms such as Pleo and Tradeshift have both emerged as success stories within the Danish B2B finance space in recent times, and according to Finderup Grove, this swell of innovation in the region is a natural by-product of Danish efficiency.

“The labour costs are extremely high in Denmark because of our tax system, so we have to do things smarter and faster. We are born and raised to be very efficient in whatever we do.

“I think it’s the same when it comes to technology. We’re able to do things easier, cheaper and smarter.”


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