Moving to an on-demand close is vital to every finance transformation initiative. In our first post, we discussed how enabling on-demand financial close with a data-driven, digital approach helps you manage talent and glean actionable insights.
Leading organizations are making transactional and manual tasks invisible, and analytical and judgmental tasks more intelligent. In record to report, there has been remarkable success by automating reconciliations and intercompany reporting streams. Soon, many of these processes will run like a utility, leading to touchless tasks.
With machine learning, computational linguistics, and computer vision, the finance function is becoming more intelligent by embedding analytics at its core.
During a recent webinar, we polled finance professionals and discovered that 80% say their top challenges include high workload, rework, manual effort, and a lack of access to real-time data. Most respondents also agreed that their organizations do not have the financial tools and resources to achieve continuous close.
To provide accurate and timely financial information that supports business leaders in decision making, we have developed a road map to help accounting and finance teams provide accurate and timely financial information that supports leaders in decision making, while transforming that addresses these challenges and transforms your financial close and reporting.
But this is not a one-size-fits-all approach, as every organization needs a different mix of digital, process, policy, and industry knowledge related to the financial close.
Here are three key areas to consider as you embark on your financial close transformation journey.
Get the Foundations Right
Good processes allow you to weather the unknown and make significant changes to your financial close.
During a presentation at the 2018 InTheBlack conference, Victoria Hernandez, accounting and external reporting leader at Mondelēz International, says the key to overcoming unknown issues depends on how fast you react—and how good your base processes are. You can measure these by how quickly they get you back on track.
Mondelēz International improves its base process through centralization, harmonization, and automation. Constant communication enables the team to work across time zones without impeding the financial close process.
Adopt New Policies & Controls
In addition to the high dependency on technology and computing power, data, policy, and controls also play important roles.
Every accounting and finance organization should consider:
- Nurturing an agile team of people and machines
- Adapting current business policies to better
support on-demand close
- For example, require that monthly activities like data reconciliation and validation reviews or quarterly corporate allocations and charge-outs happen more regularly with automation technology
- Adopting dynamic controls
- Creating consumer-grade user experiences
Embed New Ways of Working
By bringing together business and accounting-transaction life cycles, you ensure there is only one way of recording across accounting and management books.
Analyzing disparate data sources with advanced computing capabilities and employing predictive analytics enables you to make more informed business decisions. Adopt AI solutions to manage, solve, and predict exceptions.
Redefine the Future of R2R: Propel the Business
Another webinar poll found that most organizations are using automation to close the books on time. Mondelēz International, for example, has seen significant impact from transforming its R2R function, such as increased process standardization and reduced finance costs, close efforts, and time to report.
Redesigning the close process means getting away from multiple accounting systems, manual spreadsheets and reconciliations, and disconnected data. A faster, efficient close has automated controls, streamlined processes, and aligned systems and organizational structures.
Give your team the ability to focus on more value-adding activities, generate greater trust in reported numbers, and deliver the quality insights that create an agile finance function.