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Top 5 Trends Impacting Finance Teams in 2024

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insightsoftware is a global provider of reporting, analytics, and performance management solutions, empowering organizations to unlock business data and transform the way finance and data teams operate.

24 02 Blog Top5financetrendsweexpect2024 Website

It’s hard to believe we’re nearly halfway into the 2020s. Looking back on the decade so far, technology has made significant strides from the proliferation of remote work to companies moving rapidly to the cloud. 2024 is set to be a fascinating year in the finance space with advancements that help organizations continue to do more with stretched resources and continued staffing shortages.

And it can’t come a moment too soon–nearly three-quarters of finance decision-makers (70%) feel pressure from market factors like inflation and economic disruption. But looking to the future, what trends will impact finance professionals this year?

1. Generative AI

Since ChatGPT was released in November of 2022, generative AI has exploded onto the global market. But finance teams are slow to adopt this technology. According to Gartner, only 1% of finance functions have adopted or plan on investing in generative AI. The same study reveals the top reasons why finance leaders haven’t implemented generative AI yet, which include:

  • Lack of technical skills and capabilities
  • Low-quality data
  • Insufficient use cases

Despite the technology being in its relative infancy, early adopters of generative AI in finance are already seeing several benefits. Top reasons to leverage generative AI for finance are:

  • Accounting support
  • Detection of anomalies
  • Financial analysis

Finance teams eager to embrace AI’s transformative power should invest in automated financial reporting software as a launchpad. Firstly, these tools cultivate essential data literacy and automation skills by mimicking AI workflows within a comfortable environment. Secondly, by analyzing automated reports and pinpointing areas for improvement, teams uncover concrete use cases where AI can deliver the most significant impact. While Excel doesn’t offer the full analytical horsepower of advanced AI, it serves as a valuable steppingstone, equipping finance teams with the foundational skills and strategic insights necessary to confidently navigate their AI journey.

If you struggle with disparate data, investing in a robust technology solution that provides a single source of truth will prepare your data for generative AI when your organization is ready to adopt.

2. ESG in Finance

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives are top-of-mind for finance teams–at 86%, nearly all large companies report on ESG information. ESG holds companies accountable for their impact on the environment, social movements and corporate governance.

  • Environmental ranges from green energy initiatives to reducing carbon emissions. Environmental causes seek to address the impact of climate change and other environmental challenges.
  • Social is a focus on promoting equity and nondiscrimination. Organizations worldwide have a variety of different environmental regulations to contend with. Social initiatives help you comply to the law while demonstrating a dedication to protecting and promoting diversity.
  • Governance inspires greater transparency within organizations while helping them comply with international and local regulations.

2024 is an important year for ESG initiatives as there has been an increase in mandatory ESG disclosures like the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive in Europe and the SEC’s proposed rule to disclose emissions and risk management practices for US-based organizations.

ESG is a broad topic, but with the right technology, organizations can be better equipped to adopt and maintain ESG initiatives. Top ESG concerns such as health and safety, employee diversity, transparency, and disclosure are all measurable. Investing in robust reporting software will help you measure your progress and advance your ESG readiness with precise and refreshable data straight from your ERP.

3. Cloud Adoption

Cloud adoption is nothing new, but it continues to rise to the forefront as time goes on–for the first time, cloud spending is predicted to surpass $1 trillion in 2024. Organizations continue to look to cloud adoption to:

  • Gain better access to data from any device
  • Automate manual processes
  • Centralize data security
  • Decrease IT dependence

But do you fully move to the cloud or take a hybrid approach? There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy that works for every business, but the good news is there are options based on your organization’s unique needs.

Cloud migration is often a staged approach – reporting tends to lag with time taken to learn new systems. To avoid this drop in productivity, finance teams should invest in a connected reporting tool that allows them to interact with multiple ERP instances.

Migration to Cloud: Consolidating Different Data Sets

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4. Cybersecurity and Data Privacy 

This year, we predict a heightened focus on maintaining data privacy and security in finance. Why is this? On the surface, protecting data privacy and security helps organizations comply with global laws like GDPR, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s new rules for cybersecurity incident disclosure. Maintaining a strong privacy and security posture also protects your organization against data breaches, which can result in hefty fines, exposure of customer and sensitive internal data, and reputational damage that can take years to repair.

Other 2024 trends like generative AI and the cloud come with data privacy and security challenges as well–with generative AI comes a heightened risk for fraud and more sophisticated styles of social engineering, one of the leading causes of cyberattacks.

To alleviate cybersecurity concerns, ensure that any technology you implement has built-in security features so you can be confident you aren’t inviting unforeseen threats into your business.

5. Process Automation 

Every finance professional knows that manual processes consume a considerable amount of time. Inputting and exporting data manually from your ERP into a spreadsheet can also lead to inaccuracies that are hard to spot without careful review.

According to our recent Report on Operational Reporting, 98% of organizations surveyed distribute reports via a static PDF, and 95% generate either all or mostly static reports. This means reporting stakeholders don’t have access to real-time or refreshable data to delve deeper and answer their own questions. With the market instability we’ve come to expect in the past few years, this could mean that new, more accurate information is available by the time leadership even opens the PDF.

As technology evolves, so does the opportunity to automate slow, outdated processes. Automation enables organizations to create more accurate and interactive reports that refresh at the click of a button and distribute automatically, saving hours to days at every month-end close.

Confidently Face the Future of Finance with Spreadsheet Server 

Adopting software solutions purpose-built for intuitive custom analysis is a valuable way to automate processes while creating the reports your organization requires. With Spreadsheet Server by insightsoftware, gain the power of real-time, refreshable reporting directly in Excel’s familiar interface. With drag-and-drop, self-serve reports, you can create your own custom reports without IT involvement.

Spreadsheet Server enables you to:

  • Automate manual processes with interactive, accurate, and refreshable reports straight from your ERP.
  • Ease your cloud migration by creating a secure, near-real-time ERP connectivity that will transition to the cloud with you.
  • Protects the safety of your data by adhering to your ERP’s built-in security for dependable data protection.
  • Prepare for AI adoption by consolidating and positioning your data to efficiently adopt AI tools and functionality.

Ready to learn more? Read our whitepaper on how self-service reporting eases the pain of skills shortages.


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Struggling With Skills Shortages? Why Self-Service Reporting Eases the Pain of Staffing Constraints

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