Challenging times highlight the need to design resilience into finance and accounting processes, and virtualizing the close is one of the steps an organization can take to support process sustainability and business continuity.
A crisis often becomes a stress test measuring the resiliency of the department. It highlights the importance of an organization’s ability to maintain operational efficiency and confidence in the accuracy and control of accounting processes when faced with business disruptions.
The Impact of a Virtualized Close
A virtualized close means that an organization can sustain accounting operations under almost all circumstances, and it also supports a more strategic role for the department.
Having efficient, streamlined virtual close processes in place allows Finance and Accounting to provide performance information and insights in a timely fashion. This enables executives and managers to act sooner, be nimbler, close sooner, and improve their performance.
In order to achieve a successful virtual close, accounting and finance teams must be equipped to unify data and processes across disparate systems and collaborate from home or anywhere they’re working, with visibility into and reporting on all activities.
This is how your F&A organization can close with confidence in uncertain times, and beyond.
A More Resilient, Strategic Department
Virtualizing the close enables companies to close their books faster, as it improves efficiency without sacrificing quality. Closing sooner supports a more strategic role for the department.
Instead of conforming to the backward-looking “bean counter” stereotype, the department can instead transform into a forward-looking strategic partner to the rest of the organization. A faster close allows accounting and finance teams to provide performance information and key analysis sooner, improving organizational agility and competitiveness as a result.
Ventana research finds that nine out of ten executives believe their finance department should play a more strategic role in corporate management. Practically, this means providing executives and managers with a deeper understanding of what just happened and why, and offering data-driven insights into best next steps and their potential impact.
In other words, moving the department beyond the basics of standard finance functions.
According to Ventana’s Office of Finance benchmark research, 81% of participating organizations report that Finance performs core department functions such as accounting, fiscal control, transaction management, financial reporting, and internal audit. But only 19% manage more advanced functions like implementing a high degree of process automation or actively promoting process and analytical excellence.
These advanced functions enable the department to become a strategic partner to the rest of the organization. Adding these capabilities is an evolutionary process requiring a digital transformation, and one of the most productive ways to start is by addressing the accounting close.
Read this white paper from Ventana Research to learn how to do this at your organization. Data from their benchmark report will help build your business case for acceleration and prioritize virtualizing your financial close.