High-performing finance and AP teams have a lot in common. At the highest level, they embrace a digital and modern mindset that focuses on simplicity, visibility, automation and results.  

What does this look like, specifically? We broke down the six key characteristics below. Today’s modern and high-performing finance teams:

  1. Embrace automation. They recognize that manual and paper-based processes are detrimental to their staff, productivity and the bottom line. Modern finance teams automate the procure-to-pay process to save time, reduce workloads and improve outputs. By eliminating tedious tasks, they redirect their attention to strategic initiatives like analyzing invoice data, spend analysis, preventing fraud and managing budgets and investments.

  2. Invest in best-of-breed technologies: Modern financial leaders embrace technology. They see the explosive growth of innovative business apps and the consumerization of finance and IT as a major opportunity to supercharge results and make work easier for everyone. They integrate best-of-breed technologies with their organization’s existing ERP or financial systems (like SAP, NetSuite, Maximo, Sage Intact, and others) to ensure their teams are always working with the latest and greatest technology.

  3. Put user experience first. Modern financial leaders never underestimate the power of user-adoption. The tools and processes they oversee are simple, user-friendly, and help get the job done faster. With only 31% of CFOs expecting the majority of their finance staff to work four or more days on-site post-pandemic, modern leaders implement technology that allows their employees to work and collaborate wherever and whenever they need to, even from their mobile devices. They believe their people are their biggest asset – and they create an environment where they can thrive, wherever that may be.

  4. Leverage data to make decisions. When it comes to financial decision making, modern leaders understand that analytics are crucial in fueling successful growth strategies and increasing profitability. They recognize the immense amount of data and intelligence at their disposal and leverage the insights to make informed decisions, optimize processes, and improve performance.

  5. Prioritize speed and agility. They know the market is unpredictable and moves fast. Modern financial leaders recognize innovation is required to get ahead – and stay ahead. They rely on process automation, cloud connectivity and modern technologies, like AI/ML, to compete, scale, grow, win – and move faster than the competition.

  6. Digitize and transform incrementally. Exponential results don’t happen overnight. Modern financial leaders digitize incrementally by focusing on quick wins, showcasing value and leveraging the results to justify more investment. They start off with one aspect of the procurement and AP function, say business purchasing, modernize and automate it, celebrate the results, and continue their journey.


While mastering the above characteristics may seem scary for organizations, especially those with limited budgets, capacity and tech expertise, it’s easier than it sounds. The key to success is transforming and modernizing incrementally with a focus on the areas that will reap immediate returns.  

Collectively, these six tenets will help your company improve working capital, boost margins, lower vendor invoicing and payment costs, reduce overhead and close the books faster.

For more information on how you can digitize your finance and AP operations, check out our new report: How to Build a Modern and Mobile Finance Department.

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