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How Volante drove automation and integration across its organisation

Mark Crowley, CFO at Volante Technologies, explains how digitisation has benefitted the company, and why his team played a key part in influencing its adoption

Imagine digitisation not just as a mere tool for automation, but as an elegant symphony of integrated workflows. This is Volante Technologies’ mantra, as iterated by their CFO Mark Crowley.

“While automation can result in improvements to a single process, previously managed manually, the big benefit comes from the integration of workflows across the organisation,” he tells The CFO.

Volante Technologies emerged onto the financial scene in 2001. Their mission? To ride the crest of the digital wave, sculpting the future of finance. This is not your average Silicon Valley saga, though.

Volante positioned itself as a cloud-native dynamo, keen on transforming the financial operations of businesses around the globe.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and their story takes on epic proportions, with clientele featuring titans like Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and Citi, as well as footprints gracing 35 countries.

Yet, at the heart of this burgeoning empire, lie its curious minds, with a whopping 75% of its workforce engaged in the enigmatic world of research and development (R&D).

A balancing act

Crowley’s perspective reframes the digitisation narrative, underscoring the monumental gains to be had from integrated workflows permeating every corner of an organisation.

“One of the challenges the finance team faces is that it is both powerful and powerless,” he says. “The finance function is there to quantify costs across activities within an organisation. We cannot tell sales and engineering what to do but we can advise on the efforts that are lost due to poor processes – and help them save time and money.”

To do this, Volante’s finance team provides other departments with data and analytics to guide them and cost out the improvements needed.

Gone are the days when the finance department was merely the backstage crew, handling the drudgery of Accounts Payable and Receivables.

Today, they are the strategic co-pilots, navigating the enterprise through the challenging seas of digitisation. The data is their sceptre, the numbers their crown, and their realm is a landscape punctuated with decisions ripe for influence.

“We own the data; we own the numbers, and we can influence decisions and one of the key things here is that we can influence on the whole notion of digitisation,” says Crowley.

“We are well placed to evolve the company and move it away from inefficient processes by talking to departments about them.”

Crowley firmly believes that today, the CFO needs to come to the table with a strong understanding of technology. “There are many tech tools available that may be suitable, and the CFO needs this knowledge. Finance has always been an early adopter of new technologies – and the CFO is in a strong place to advocate their use across the organisation,” he says. “Finance is also in a strong position to value the benefits to be derived from various tech tools.”

Digitisation projects

Volante Technologies has recently harnessed the prowess of a next-gen, cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, coupled with a time tracking system. These are not mere buzzwords floating in the corporate ether; these technological feats have transformed not just the finance department but the entire organisational machine.

“As a global company, we evolved using different systems in different regions of the world. Data was taken from these different systems and consolidated,” says Crowley.

“The next-generation ERP system is now used across the world by every single business department, providing everyone with the same data at the same time, and removing the need for any manual consolidation.”

For the finance team, this means it takes far less time to close the books, as well as improved accuracy and better reporting to management.

“The new ERP system is cloud-based, and this is what we really wanted to leverage – we now receive real-time updates, and it is one unifying system,” says Crowley.

Mark Crowley, Volante Technologies CFO

He adds that the new ERP has also had an impact in areas like accounts payable (AP). No longer do invoices flutter around in the inboxes of various department members. Instead, they ascend to the cloud, alerting relevant approvers, and signalling the AP team once they’re primed for payment.

Crowley points out that this cloud repository facilitates vendor analytics, offering insights into departmental vendor usage and expenditure trends.

“For example, it provides us with an overall picture of which departments are using a specific vendor and how much we are paying a specific vendor over say a 12-month period.” he says.

This streamlined process has also found a welcome home in the management of employee expenses, which can now ascend to the cloud for approvals.

“It benefits everybody – the finance function and the employees whose expenses are now paid more quickly,” Crowley says.

Just a beat after the ERP symphony, Volante introduced the concept of time reporting. Crowley emphasises the delicate dance that needs to be orchestrated in such situations.

“Time reporting is a sensitive issue. Finance needs to provide an insight into time spent on particular engineering projects, for example,” he says.

“However, when it comes to the tools deployed, engineering needs to own this and lead on it. Finance needs to be the influencer – but it is the department that will undertake to adopt the technology.”

This philosophy paved the way for a cross-functional endeavour when time tracking was introduced, involving not just finance, but also engineering, professional services, and IT. The objective was clear: it was not a finance tool, but a collective, organisational asset.

Improved transparency and accountability are key

In terms of the wider benefits secured by digitisation, improvements to efficiency and costs have provided metrics of success.

However, Volante has looked to step up on these goals and drive transparency and accountability.

“This is about making sure everyone is aware of how the organisation is working – and this calls for greater visibility of information. When it comes to accountability, there needs to be an owner – and the owner needs to be measured,” says Crowley.

“We can only make the improvements needed when we can measure performance. Owners of departments also need to measure their performance and see their contribution – this is one of the top benefits of digitisation.”


Wrapping up the saga of digitisation and strategic influence, organisations must confront the often daunting spectre of change management.

Here too, the finance department and the CFO have essential roles to play.

“We always need to maximise the use of our available resources. When we introduce new tools, we need to build a business case for them and show the benefits,” Crowley says.

“Achieving near-term objectives is an important goal for most parts of the business – but in many instances, spending more now will bring savings in the long-term. I need to demonstrate this as a CFO – there needs to be a long-term vision.”

Crowley acknowledges the inevitable inertia that can resist change. “Securing organisational buy-in is crucial,” he advises.

He says organisations should consider a robust education campaign that can help members across the organisation understand and ultimately embrace the change.

“When you are introducing a new process, it can be seen as threatening or challenging. It is important to position so that it ends up being led by the owners of a department and not forced onto them,” he says.

“We do this by demonstrating the benefits – and the opportunities resulting from the time that can be saved.”

Crowley emphasizes that change management is not merely a cost-saving exercise but an opportunity to usher in superior processes that unlock the potential for more advanced capabilities, such as analytics.

As a final thought, Crowley reflects on the unique vantage point of the finance function.

“Finance has a unique perspective within a business – it can see all parts of an organisation that may not be so aware of each other. We can see the whole playing field.”

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