The acceleration of digitization has left many businesses flat-footed, finding that paper invoices and paper checks fit about as well into the modern financial back office about as well as a square peg fits in a round hole.
Laura Mineo, chief financial officer at eCommerce technology firm Rokt, said one of the advantages of being a “data-first, digital-centric company” is that its entire product — including customer billing functions — is a single proprietary platform, making invoicing a natural part of how users interact with Rokt.
“The user experience around any system or technology solution, whether its customers or vendors or employees that need to interact with it, is really important,” Mineo said.
PYMNTS data show that 75% of companies who invested in automated accounts receivable (AR) technologies reported a better customer experience.
Speaking to PYMNTS as part of the “Day in the Life of a Digital-First CFO” series, Mineo recounted joining Rokt as deputy CFO in April 2020, which was a “baptism by fire” in the early months of the pandemic. Mineo was named CFO in August and said what’s stood out to her about the position is the reliance on data.
“The digital world, as it relates to the CFO function, in my mind is all about data,” Mineo said. “And not just data for the finance function, but more cross-functionally across the organization and being in a position where you can both capture that data but then, more importantly, leverage it to make strategic decisions across the organization.”
She added that moving to a digital world has also broadened the range of impact that a finance team can have at an organization.
“The part of that, that I get really excited about is being able to expand the finance solutions and functions and operations aspect of the [CFO] role across the whole organization,” Mineo said.
As Rokt prepares for an initial public offering (IPO), a digital back office has helped to improve the efficiency of systems and think about functionalities “in an end-to-end fashion,” she said, from the moment a customer first interacts with Rokt to when payments flow either into or out of the company.
Finding the Right Tools
Although the benefits “far outweigh” any difficulties presented by digitization, Mineo said she still worries about “everything.”
“The thing that always sticks out in my mind is in a digital world, a lot of the risks you can’t see,” she said. “And so, you need to make sure that when you’re onboarding any new system or implementing a new tool, the process design around how you use that and the risk testing that you do and the controls that you set up are really, really important.”
This also means, Mineo noted, that she’s always planning for the long term, looking five to 10 years out so as to invest in tools and solutions that will still be useful as Rokt grows.
“It’s not just fixing the process problems today, but fixing the processing problems for the medium term,” she said, adding that ensuring efficient interactions with existing systems is another key criterion, as is finding the right banking partners.
U.S. financial institutions still use a lot of legacy systems, Mineo noted, which “we need to navigate and make sure that we find the right ones to work with.”
Rokt is currently in the midst of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation, which involves reviewing all of the company’s workflow processes across the organization, something Mineo said is “a big, big project.”
“The key priority for us will be making sure that the systems that we’ve put in place today grow with us for the future but also facilitate and empower that cross-functional planning,” she said.
And, ultimately, Mineo said, it all comes back to data and “making sure we have the right visibility in our … payments and processing, and making sure that as we implement those systems, we have that end-to-end capture of data and connection of data so we can use that to make more informed decisions.”