Data Viewpoint

HFS Data Viewpoint: We appreciated the pandemic response, but it’s time to tear up and digitize our processes, say F&A services buyers

February 8, 2021

  • HFS recently published the 2020 edition of the F&A Services Top 10 report, where we assessed 16 F&A service providers across a defined series of innovation, execution, and voice of the customer criteria. As a part of the study, we interviewed 37 reference customers, gathering service provider feedback about various aspects of their F&A engagements. The chart you’re looking at represents their satisfaction scores across these execution and innovation dimensions. We can use this data as a scorecard for the F&A services industry as a whole; how did service providers perform and what needs to change?
  • Day-to-day service delivery and account management was a definite strong point, and while you expect that from a mature market like F&A, last year was like no other. We heard story upon story of how service providers moved heaven and earth to keep critical processes running and meeting quarterly close deadlines while moving remote early in the pandemic, and remote transitions and security being beefed up through the year. On the flipside, the weakest performing dimensions were within innovation, specifically the use of emerging technologies, bringing new ideas to the table on process re-design, and the impact of analytics.

HFS Bottomline. 2021 is going to be a defining year in data-driven decision making, automation, and associated process re-design in strategic finance and transactional accounting services. Whether you’re an F&A services buyer or provider, the “pandemic physics” that accelerated digitization initiatives is not going away, and you need to embrace change to make the most of it.

  • One F&A client in our research explained their rationale for renewing with their service provider, and its all about their approach to process transformation driven by emerging tech, “This time, we embedded transformation outcomes required from [service provider], and the contributary dependencies required for us to enable that. Their understanding of our business and key strategic outcomes, and approach to transformation is what sold us. They are more innovative on how we might connect various elements in the customer journey including data and analytics, the use of process experts and industry SMEs to re-think our customer journey and backoffice operations.”

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