In 2019, Sophia Tiwana was looking for a job at a company that encourages self-development and employee well-being, as well as allowing her to fulfil her passion for technology. In July, she joined inlumi as an Analyst at our London office. We interviewed Sophia to find out how she has been helping clients with EPM technologies during her first year at inlumi.
What projects have you been involved with so far?
I have worked on two OneStream projects with inlumi, having been involved in the financial close and planning, budgeting and forecasting aspects of these implementations. inlumi has given me the opportunity to work within both major streams of an EPM project. This has allowed me to understand the bigger picture of how the different streams of work come together, as well as the impact that decisions made in different areas of EPM have on one another.
Why do clients come to inlumi? What problems or challenges are they hoping to fix?
At inlumi we strive to tailor the technology we work with to fit the needs of each individual customer. This means we identify the problems and improvement points of their existing systems and provide a solution best fitted to them. No two projects are the same and this is what makes working as a consultant so interesting. Fortunately there is such a vast pool of experience at inlumi, there is no problem the team hasn’t seen!
|Sophia Tiwana, Analyst at inlumi UK
How do EPM systems improve or optimise the way in which organisations make decisions?
EPM systems enable management to make informed decisions with an accurate view of data and provide more transparency around how these numbers are cultivated and managed, making reporting on them easier and more efficient. When implementing such systems, it is the finance sector of a business that usually drives these projects, but more often than not, all lines of business are involved, and this opens a conversation around the processes they use. This allows for a reviewed and a more well-organised, well-structured way of functioning going forward, making the implementation more streamlined and efficient by cutting out functions that may have once been but are no longer relevant.
How do you contribute to achieving the client’s objective?
It is essential to understand the potential of the organisation and helping them achieve it. Working in different streams of an EPM project have enabled me to be able to look at a business with a holistic view and understand the effects these different components have on one another and in turn streamline their financial processes.
How does the technology you use impact your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
Working in the EPM space means constantly evolving and learning as technologies advance. This is what keeps you motivated and allows you to keep growing and developing yourself. It’s exciting to see how things come together in projects, how all the links fit and enable a business to perform better. I feel privileged to be able to work on such different projects and be part of such varying client stories.
How has working with these particular applications changed your perception of technology and the role it plays in the finance function?
Technology has completely revolutionised the finance industry and changed the way it operates. Previously, finance was looked at for reports and performance of a past period. Today this is not only analysed in a more thorough way, but the future is also accounted for in the form of planning and deciding where to spend money going forward, with the ability to make specific ad hoc spending decisions based on what-if scenarios. A governed, unified approach combined with the flexibility to accommodate changes allows for strategic decision-making.
What excites you most about these applications?
Keeping in mind how important uniformity and consistency are, my time at inlumi has taught me there is no one way of doing things. When it comes to EPM systems there are certainly industry best practices that should be followed, but it is important to recognise the needs and concepts of the client and understand how different these are from any other. This understanding is what we must mirror in the work we deliver.
How else do you see EPM technologies shaping the future of finance?
With the adoption of cloud-based solutions, the future of finance is one with more agile and flexible opportunities. Finance teams that were once heavily dependent on manual processes and spreadsheets can now easily access customised reports to meet their accounting needs. This then allows companies to align their resources and budgets to their distinctive needs.
How do you see your career developing?
At inlumi you are surrounded by some of the best in the industry. The culture of the organisation is also one that promotes collaboration and encourages sharing knowledge, making development something that happens naturally as a by-product. This is teamed with easy access to training and excellent project work opportunities which allow you to steer where you’d like your career to go, enabling you to work more in those areas of the EPM project lifecycle.
When I started my career as a consultant, I was unaware of the opportunities and areas I could develop in. I now have a goal of completing my CIMA qualification and am working alongside this to gain the practical experience necessary.