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We’ve all heard of FOMO. Maybe you’ve even experienced JOMO (the joy of missing out).

But have you heard of FOMM? That’s right, we’re talking about the fear of making mistakes – a common concern for finance leaders navigating the complicated world of digital transformation.

How do you know if you’re doing it right?

What if a competitor pulls out all the stops before you?

What happens if artificial intelligence (AI) makes something you’re doing obsolete?

As a CFO, taking calculated risks is key to securing success for your business. And understanding the possible obstacles and key considerations when trying to digitise your workforce can help you avoid those oversights we’re all desperate to avoid.

Here, we’re unpacking the common mistakes to avoid when conquering this new digital world to help you get it right the first time.

Don’t wait, automate

In this rapidly evolving landscape, it can be easy to sit back and wait for others to take the lead, or for new software to become available, before you start making big decisions. 

There’s naturally a fear that if you start the process of getting something up and running, by the time it’s complete, something else will have superseded it, and the whole thing will be a waste of time. 

Maybe you want to bring more AI capabilities into your finance team to automate more processes and free up people’s time. Instead of doing the research and upskilling your team now, maybe you decide to wait until a new version of OpenAI is available, or for that new employee to join so you can delegate this task to them. 

But in doing this you’re wasting valuable time when your team could be learning important skills and making valuable discoveries. See how it quickly becomes a catch 22?

Don’t let the fear of the unknown – or of making mistakes – hold you back from experimenting. Trust your gut; you never know what useful new tool you might stumble upon, or the amount of time you could save your team by trying a different process. “Embrace new technology now,” says Sean Moylan, Head of Financial Reporting at Pleo, “as once a new one comes on board, it does take time to implement, so do it sooner rather than later.” Biting the bullet now means your competitors are less likely to make the same progress, or worse, beat you to the punch.

That said, take your time

Once you’ve made the (hopefully well researched) decision to plough on with a new technology, there’s no need to go in all guns blazing with a lack of a plan.

Jumping in head first without thinking through how you plan to roll out this software can quickly lead to issues and a lack of compliance. You wouldn’t give a child a game to play with without explaining the rules first, would you? So be hesitant of letting your employees loose on new tools without making sure they have the correct training in place.

According to Sean, it’s crucial to “have a plan of how you’re going to embed the software into your current processes over time, there’s no need to rush and try to improve everything at once.” 

We recently launched our own advanced AI model here at Pleo (aptly named ‘Leo’). And before staff were allowed access to it, everyone had to complete a training module around safeguarding Pleo’s regulatory and GDPR commitments.

When it comes to pushing ahead with digital transformation, don’t sleep on making big decisions, but proceed with caution when you’re implementing something new.

Think about ease of integration

It’s true, integrations aren’t as sexy as the output of digital transformation (aka greater efficiency, slicker processes, happier staff with more time on their hands).

What goes on behind the scenes might be boring, but it’s what makes the magic happen. And choosing software that integrates smoothly and doesn’t create bottlenecks might just be the secret ingredient of successful digital transformation.

Be wary of hastily adopting new tools that don’t slot into your existing tech stack. In doing this, as Sean says, “you’ll likely experience issues and you’ll have to make the same decision again in a year, which will cost you more time and money.”

“At Pleo, we integrated with NetSuite last year, as it’s universally used and gives us more capabilities,” Sean tells us. “It works in perfect harmony with our product as there’s no manual intervention needed.” It’s also why, when building Pleo, we made sure to integrate with the tools finance teams everywhere use, to make their lives easier. So when you’re comparing different apps, be sure to consider the ease of integration and don’t compromise on this.

Now you know which sneaky pitfalls to avoid, you can go forth and navigate digital transformation with confidence. Fear of making mistakes is normal, and things don’t always go to plan (and that’s okay). But due diligence and thorough planning is the best way to prevent this and stay at the top of your game.

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