The financial market presents a series of challenges to convert to Agile. The good news is that the methodologies can be adapted to the environment of these companies.
The financial management of the business is a practice that requires predictability. It’s just as important to have accurate, real-time information as it is to have money to move cash flow.
In organizations, corporate financial planning plays a fundamental role in achieving strategic goals.
Because it is not a core activity, the financial side is often neglected. As a result, it is difficult to gather data on revenues, immediate expenses, receivables, and benefits due in an integrated way.
In this article, you will find out how you can work with Agile Methodologies and Scrum in Financial Management world.
Breaking barriers in a financial management
Companies in the financial and insurance market are in a real dilemma: they recognize the urgent need for Agile Transformation, at the same time that they are trapped in traditional development and project management models.
We can list some reasons:
- Legal norms imposed on insurance companies and financial institutions, which end up needing extensive documentation;
- Minimum errors;
- The operational complexity of large companies.
The solution is to start with hybrid models or bet on flexible solutions. In addition, it is also necessary to acculturate the entire team to the new agile mindset. The process may be long, but it is a necessary metamorphosis for companies in the segment.
We’ll look at the reasons for making this transition in more detail in the next topics. So keep following.
Cultural Agile Transformation
Traditionally, there is an understanding that Agility is a corporate practice on project management. The idea is to guarantee delivery, adaptability, and optimize results.
The view is correct, but the truth is that Agile Transformation has an even deeper root: the cultural revolution itself. Consumers, more connected and used to digital solutions, expect a practical solution to their problem. It’s the end of bureaucracy.
So there is a cultural revolution, which comes from consumer empowerment, is what makes a financial market and insurance companies review their practices and values.
The first step is to make this revolution contaminate the company itself. Agile Transformation is based on the agile mindset.
At this point, it is worth remembering some agile values that foster this mindset:
- interaction between individuals is more important than processes and tools;
- running applications is more important than comprehensive documentation;
- customer participation is more important than the contractual rules themselves; and
- adaptation is more important than following rigid planning.
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Fail Fast, Learn Faster
The big difference between insurtech and fintech is that they allow themselves to make mistakes. The difference is that these errors are calculated. We must understand this as a natural setback in the innovation process.
Again, Agile Transformation can help us. This is because the methodologies favor adaptation and the dynamism necessary for innovation.
In this sense, we highlight the Scrum Framework, Design Sprint, DevOps, and the formation of Squads as essential practices in financial management.
The Scrum Framework is perfect for promoting Agile Transformation. This framework, initially created for software development, emphasizes collaboration and adaptation.
Sprint deliveries are essential to feel market receptivity and respond promptly. Thus, we overturn the traditional models of project management, in a cascade. We make room for calculated tests and errors.
Agile squads and cells
What if you could simulate the startup environment in a traditional organization? Still, about agile methodologies, we can talk about the creation of Squads and agile cells.
You may create small autonomous and self-managing groups to run the organization’s projects.
The idea is already widespread in the financial and insurance market. That’s because it’s possible to break down rigid departmental structures and accelerate projects internally.
It is a development methodology that, integrated with Agile, can bring a series of benefits to the financial and insurance market. The idea is to eliminate barriers between development and operations teams with automation.
Many systems allow this communication and, in this way, the development and implementation work become even more dynamic.
Fintechs and insurtechs were born agile and fell in the consumer’s taste.
Main practices to apply in financial management
1. Automate processes
A huge part of the processes involving finance can be automated. In addition to the productivity gain, CFOs and area directors also gain more reliability and time to devote to strategic activities. For fast-growing companies, controlling finances through software is imperative to avoid losses.
2. Streamline management
Having agile management is not just about shipping software, but adopting a specific method. Agile methodologies empower teams and ensure companies are more adaptable to market contingencies.
Agile methodologies assume short work cycles with faster meetings and focus on continuous improvement based on customer feedback. Companies that rely on real-time data and intelligence systems can unite the two ends and become increasingly competitive.
Finally, the impact of these practices on corporate financial planning and its execution means that companies can identify and take advantage of market opportunities. With fewer people producing reports and correcting errors, human capital gains freedom to act strategically, thinking and proposing new solutions to complex problems.
3. Define KPIs
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are management tools that will help your organization understand whether efforts are flowing towards strategic objectives. In business intelligence software there is usually a section for defining KPIs.
But that’s not all that a good set of KPIs can do for your company and the finance department: it’s also possible to run simulations of various scenarios.
Thus, it is possible to anticipate problems and design tested and efficient solutions. In this case, looking for other sources of revenue and requesting a review of tax credits would be two examples of measures to mitigate a scenario where credit has been denied.
4. Adjust the strategy
Every strategy needs periodic reviews and the market is not still waiting for your company. Some unexpected events may happen and force a change of direction. But if your company has embedded technology and uses agile management methods, this change is much less traumatic and forced.
However, even companies that already use technologies in their processes need to adjust strategies following the logic of the PDCA cycle (plan, do check, act). Although ongoing changes are getting faster, more unpredictable, and as markets become more competitive and there is a need for strategic readjustment.
Corporate financial planning can benefit from the adoption of agile methodologies and management and business intelligence software.
With the automation of processes, employees gain more freedom to act on fronts that require decision-making power, relying on the support of sophisticated programs to anticipate scenarios and propose solutions.
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