Part 2 of the What Is Continuous Accounting? blog series. Read Part 1 first.
Data-driven. Results-oriented. Leader. Advocate for change.
How many of these phrases describe you? And how often are you able to use these abilities to drive process improvement during the workday?
As an accounting and finance professional, you have a unique set of skills. And in our increasingly competitive business world, your organization needs those skills more than ever. But when your teams are buried by a high volume of transactions to match and reconcile — manually — these invaluable skills can become buried, too.
This calls for a new approach in 2018. One that integrates finance automation and process improvement to enable accounting and finance to become a true partner to the business. One that equips you to finally break the cycle of barely surviving at work to thriving — even during the financial close. We call this new approach Continuous Accounting.
The Continuous Accounting Model
Continuous Accounting embeds automation, control, and period-end tasks within daily activities to align the accounting schedule with the rest of business. This allows accountants to perform close tasks throughout the month, smoothing out those dreaded end-of-period spikes.
This model lays a foundation for real-time data to fuel analytics and gives CFOs insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the business. Accountants can permanently come up for air, and reallocate the time previously spent on manual processes to value-adding activities.
The Heart of Continuous Accounting
An automated matching process is at the heart of Continuous Accounting. When accountants are manually matching and reconciling thousands of transactions, there is little time for anything else. It’s so easy to get stuck in this process, trying to figure out why a particular transaction isn’t matching, as the hours tick by.
A finance automation solution automates detail-heavy reconciliations in minutes, identifying the unmatched transactions. This can be done on a daily basis, whenever the data comes in, instead of waiting until the end of the month. Your workload becomes more predictable, and with the most tedious manual work done automatically, your teams have the time to focus on researching the exceptions.
Elevate Your Role & Engage Your Teams
This saves a significant amount of time and allows you to finally refocus on providing strategic guidance to the business—such as improving internal processes or finding cost-saving opportunities. It creates the opportunity for you to apply not just knowledge and expertise, but also nuanced creativity and intelligence.
Utilizing these skills and strengths can be extremely fulfilling, elevating your role within the organization and engaging your teams. Balanced workloads and meaningful work end the era of turnover due to burnout, and the increased level of retention will be reflected in your bottom line.
Increase Your Impact on the Business
Companies that have continuous visibility into financial resources and capabilities can also seize marketplace opportunities as they appear. Real-time analysis is really what enables organizations to pivot when the economy changes, a new start-up gets uppity, or customers suddenly demand new products and services.
Continuous Accounting enables accounting teams to play an integral role in these pivot points. When you are freed to spend your brain capital on analysis and strategy, you become more agile, responsive, proactive, and equipped to partner with the broader business during critical organizational change.
This shift also changes the way you and your teams work every day, allowing you to be more productive with fewer resources, greater controls, and increased accuracy. It sets you apart in the industry, empowering you to add value to the business, and preparing you to ride these continual waves of change and disruption. It provides the framework you need to thrive and frees you to be exceptional.
Read Part 3 in the Continuous Accounting blog series.