The Power of Finance Automation

4-minute read

This is Part 1 of an article that originally appeared in Strategic Finance Magazine.

Accounting and finance professionals are crucial to driving strategy and future business growth. But decision-makers at many midsize and large companies aren’t fully leveraging this talent.

In a recent BlackLine survey conducted by Censuswide, 52% of business decision-makers from companies with at least $250 million in revenue agreed that their finance teams can be entrepreneurial in the way they help the business grow.

Nearly half (45%) identified a strong understanding of future Finance needs as the most important skill required to develop the business. Yet 31% revealed that their companies vastly underrate improvements in financial management efficiency.

Manual processes have no place in the future of Finance. These tedious tasks take up too much time and lead to an uneven workload, long hours, and escalating frustration. But automation alone won’t transform your finance organization.

No Wonder Accountants Disengage

Outdated accounting operations in the form of the traditional record-to-report (R2R) process risk damaging the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of results.

Each line on the balance sheet is made up of thousands of underlying transactions, often manually compiled and adjusted by overworked accountants facing pressing deadlines. This is an error-prone process that puts incredible amounts of strain on employees, stifling productivity, scalability, and visibility.

The R2R model condenses a huge amount of work into a short span of time, and delays data processing and reporting to the end of the period. This is a reactive approach that risks damaging the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of results while placing incredible amounts of strain on employees.

By leaving so much work to get done in just a week or so, accounting and finance teams face costly challenges. 

There is mounting pressure to increase transparency in financial reporting, and spreadsheets cannot provide this kind of visibility. With no central database, there is a lack of control, and the inevitable inconsistency can hamper big picture strategy and decision making. This, in turn, can have a profoundly negative impact on the organization.

Coupling this with legacy technology can make everything about Accounting and Finance feel outmoded, which in turn dulls motivation and causes department-wide dissatisfaction that can lead to increased turnover rates.

When nothing about their job actually uses their well-honed skills in analysis, accountants can feel blocked from helping their business think more strategically.

Making the Move to Modern Accounting

To unlock the value of your accountants, you need to automate the tedious, manual accounting work that consumes so much of their time and effort. An automated process that’s repeatable, organized, and transparent reduces your exposure to risk and provides confidence in the reporting outcomes.

The resulting efficiency and effectiveness free up your accountants to focus on analysis and input, which is the reason they pursued this profession in the first place. If done properly, this can lead to your accountants loving their jobs again, and the increased level of retention and strategic insight will be reflected in your bottom line.

Finance automation is a journey that begins by analyzing your current state. Identifying your accounting and finance teams’ greatest challenges and considering visibility and efficiency gaps will reveal the low-hanging fruit primed for process automation and optimization.

Many of the procedures best suited for the first steps of your journey are often the most manual and risky, and the easiest to improve and automate. These often include account reconciliations, matching, and journal entry.

Are you ready to make the move to modern accounting? Read this ebook to discover the right first step.