Midsize organizations are in a unique position. For many, informal processes, institutional knowledge, and manual work are no longer sustainable. But all too often, midsize F&A teams find themselves stuck in this continual cycle because they lack the resources typical of large enterprises to invest in and implement close automation technology.
And now—with the ongoing pandemic—shifting priorities and uncertainty have seemingly pushed modern accounting initiatives further down the pipeline.
Nevertheless, there’s never been a more crucial time to make the move to modern accounting. Remote work has challenged F&A teams in unprecedented ways and those who invest in cloud financial close technology are better positioned to succeed.
In a recent survey, Gatepoint Research found that nearly 40% of U.S. mid-market F&A executives agree that manual effort is a major issue in their organization. Additionally, over two-thirds of survey respondents said their teams rely entirely on their ERP or Excel for close management.
Manual processes introduce errors and bog down the close—and perhaps even worse, put midsize organizations at a competitive disadvantage.
This blog explores what modern accounting is and how it benefits all levels of the F&A team, from staff accountants to CFOs, and how organizations can achieve modern accounting quickly and efficiently.
What is Modern Accounting?
Modern accounting is unified. It means that all of your systems and data are integrated into one system of the truth. All close tasks, reconciliations, and workflows are standardized for better consistency, efficiency, and control.
Modern accounting is automated. Process automation reduces time spent on what you might typically characterize as “busy work,” which means that your teams can free up time to focus on higher-value activities and strategic projects.
Modern accounting is continuous. Continuous Accounting equips you to perform, execute, and report on F&A tasks at the speed the business requires. Teams can deliver information and analysis to inform key decisions and align with evolving needs.
How Will Modern Accounting Benefit Me?
Oftentimes, we hear through the grapevine that our company is implementing a new technology solution. We think, that’s great for the business, but how will the technology benefit me? The great part about cloud financial close technology is that there’s something in it for everyone.
Midsize F&A teams typically have three main personas: the staff accountant or preparer, the approver or manager, and the reviewer or executive.
Staff accountants are known as the doers—they’re the ones working directly with the numbers on a daily basis and ensuring that all the details tie out. When you take away manual, administrative tasks, like aggregating information from different systems and files, ticking and tying, or collecting documentation for auditors, you’re saving a significant amount of time.
A platform like BlackLine standardizes, automates, and balances work throughout the month. All those tedious data validation activities go away, and staff accountants can become more critical thinkers, using the valuable skills and knowledge they went to school for.
Senior accountants and managers are tasked with making sure a detailed review is happening—they are often the first line of defense from a control standpoint. The biggest challenge for this role is managing the volume of work that needs to get done. How should senior accountants and managers prioritize their work and focus their time?
With accounting work centralized in a single system, senior accountants and managers can gain instant visibility with dashboards and reports to help sort through and prioritize items that need the most amount of attention and when.
For higher-level reviewers like the controller and CFO, modern accounting provides an improved control environment with a heavier emphasis on preventative controls—which means a higher degree of confidence in your processes and the results. You also get an engaged and well-utilized F&A team that has best-in-class processes and can continue to iterate and improve for the future.
How Can I Move to Modern Accounting Quickly & Efficiently?
The great news is that these benefits are now readily achievable. Midsize organizations no longer need to take on big, yearlong transformation projects.
With BlackLine’s Modern Accounting Playbook, midsize F&A teams can implement quick wins to unify data and processes, automate repetitive work, and drive accountability through visibility in just 60 to 90 days.
Get in touch with us to learn more about the Modern Accounting Playbook and how to scale up for the future.