The conclusion of our Continuous Accounting blog series. You can access the full series here.
During this series, we’ve explored why, in the midst of a complex global economy, rapidly evolving technology, and changing customer demand, some organizations are thriving.
Instead of viewing constant change as a challenge to be overcome, these companies are leveraging complexity as a competitive advantage. They’re taking advantage of upheaval in markets, in regulations, and in technology to fuel innovation.
They’re improving access to and reporting of real-time data, elevating accountants to analytical roles, increasing data accuracy, and reducing the likelihood of human error. And they’re doing all of this at less cost, with the resources they already have.
These organizations are on a Continuous Accounting journey that is delivering a more efficient close, more accurate financials, and a more effective, nimble organization.
As we close out this series, we want to make sure you’re fully equipped to begin your own journey. Here is a list of tools that will help you implement a Continuous Accounting approach with your accounting and finance teams:
- Data connectivity unifies your data model so it can be used for many different functions.
- Rules-based automation tools auto-certify account reconciliations so accountants can focus on exception identification and handling.
- Account balance substantiation provides automatic review and certification.
- Task management tools monitor weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks to make sure you’re staying on track.
- Finance performance management reporting and analytics increase data quality, efficiency, and consistency to compare operational outcomes.
We also want to offer some do’s and don’ts that will help you focus on the right things and avoid the mistakes of organizations who are further along on this journey.
- Start with the low hanging fruit. Take a bottom-up approach by starting small and working your way up.
- If you don’t know where to start, ask the people at the bottom. The ones who are mired in spreadsheets and manual processes will likely have valuable insight for process improvement.
- Ask yourself: if you could have anything, what information would you want at your fingertips at all times? Then look at the finance automation solutions that can give you that visibility.
- Take a holistic approach. This is about your process first, and finding the right finance automation, but also people focused – making their lives easier so they can add more value.
- Don’t think this is just a technology story. It’s bigger than a software pitch.
- Don’t automate bad process.
- Don’t forget the people. They’re the most important part of this transformation story and it’s not going to happen without them.
- Don’t think of this is a destination. Top performers are always improving, and each day can be better than the last.
Finally, keep in mind that overcoming the inertia of “we’ve always done it that way” is easier said than done, and these changes won’t take place overnight. But it is more than worth the effort that is required at every step.
Taking a gradual approach to modern process improvement allows an organization to realize incremental results and benefits with every step and at every level.
Read this ebook to begin building the Continuous Accounting blueprint for your organization.