Ideas to help pitch your idea to the boss.
You have a problem at work: spreadsheet programs are limited, error-prone and a time sucker for the team. You’ve done the research and identified that Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software is the best option to automate financial processes and enable the Finance team to perform better and be more proactive in planning. Now, you need to figure out how to convince senior management that the company would benefit from the new software, and it’s a worthwhile investment. Easier said than done.
Here are some ideas to help pitch your idea to the boss.
1. Talk in Numbers
You’re a Finance professional, use the language of numbers to communicate the problem and potential efficiencies by implementing the solution. Cost savings, return on investment, faster close, are some of the quantitative facts to include.
Instead of saying that CPM software will “save a lot of time,” illustrate exactly how much time you and your team spend on certain processes. For example, it takes you 5 hours a week to produce the necessary reports. Software that automates reporting has the potential to save over 200 hours of work a year.
2. Show the Human Cost
The cost of not having the right system in place can also be measured in wasted human capital. The best system can save a business on overtime costs, contract workers, and the cost of leave when coworkers burn out. There is also a cost to falling behind due to manual processes and data verification; the right software solution can save on human resources.
Show how the current work process is a source of frustration for not just you, but your entire team.
3. Compare and Contrast
Compare the current system you are using with the features and benefits of the recommended software. Highlight how the team could function with greater efficiency and how the new system can allow for adding value across all lines of business with visual analytics, automated reporting, and integrated financial planning, ultimately embedding the Office of Finance as a strategic business partner.
4. Use Third Party Feedback
Leverage third-party and industry analyst studies further your case for new software. There are many software review sites and analysts that cover the performance management space. Ask your potential vendors for industry research as part of the sales process.
Ask for references from a potential new vendor and specifically seek references in your industry, similar company size or area of expertise. Have a brief conversation finance person to finance person.
Share your findings in your proposal.
5. Recruit a Management Advocate
Pre-pitch your proposal to a senior finance team member who will have input into the decision-making process. If he/she is aligned with the new idea and understand how it will benefit the company as a whole will be a valuable asset. If your immediate manager can also be your advocate, he/she looks good too.
Being an agent for change in an organization can feel like an uphill battle. Stick to the facts and remind yourself that innovators get noticed as the company grows and evolves.