BlackLine Blog

July 13, 2023

The Importance of Finance Technology Updates for Midsize Organizations

Modern Accounting
2 Minute Read

BlackLine Magazine

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According to Robert Kugel, SVP and Research Director, Ventana Research, midsize organizations face unique challenges in their finance and accounting operations. While they require capabilities similar to larger businesses, they often don’t have access to the staff and financial resources that big organizations do.

However, advancements in information technology, especially cloud computing, have opened opportunities for midsize organizations to bridge the gap and enhance their performance. Let’s explore the reasons why midsize organizations should invest in finance technology updates, how readily available technology can level the playing field, and areas where CFOs should focus their IT investments.

Download your copy of Kugel’s Reasons Your Midsize Organization Needs a Finance Technology Update for exclusive access to metrics and research results.

Closing the Performance Gap

Ventana’s research shows a performance gap between midsize organizations and larger enterprises in finance and accounting functions. For example, a majority of midsize organizations take more than 6 business days to complete the quarterly accounting close. In addition, fewer midsize organizations report having excellent analytic skills than larger businesses.

CFOs in midsize organizations must recognize the importance of technology in closing these gaps and improving performance. By leveraging affordable technology, they can enhance analytics capabilities, reduce manual processes, and provide actionable insights.

Addressing Spreadsheet Dependence

One contributing factor to the performance gap is the excessive reliance on spreadsheets in midsize organizations. This reliance is especially evident in areas like sales tax provision, management accounting, and post-consolidation processes. To overcome this challenge, Ventana Research suggests that midsize CFOs focus their IT investments in three key areas:

  • Financial management

  • Planning and budgeting

  • The close, consolidate, and report functions of the accounting cycle


The Role of Cloud-Based Solutions

Replacing aging ERP systems can be expensive, time-consuming, and risky. However, there is a growing need to address the limitations of legacy systems and leverage the benefits of cloud-based solutions. Cloud-based finance technology offers cost-effectiveness, improved performance, enhanced security, and efficient software and hardware management. And it enables organizations to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, reduce low-value tasks, and allow finance departments to be more analytical and forward-looking.

Integrated Business Planning for Better Decision-Making

According to Ventana Research, integrated business planning (IBP) provides a framework for managing planning and budgeting processes. By using a unified planning data environment and advanced analytics, IBP enables organizations to make more informed decisions. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of midsize organizations currently adopt integrated planning practices. By integrating all planning data and linking it directly to budgets, organizations can achieve better results, faster updates, and a more consistent decision-making process.

Streamlining the Close, Consolidate & Report Process

Closing the books is a critical process for finance and accounting departments. However, many midsize organizations struggle to complete the quarterly close within the benchmarked one-week timeframe. Leveraging technology and automation can significantly accelerate this process while ensuring accuracy, providing more time for analysis and narrative crafting, and supporting better control and talent retention.

Ventana Research Recommends Finance Technology Updates

Midsize organizations can greatly benefit from finance technology updates. By investing in affordable and readily available technology, they can close the performance gap with larger enterprises. Cloud-based solutions, integrated business planning, and streamlined close processes are key areas for midsize CFOs to focus their IT investments and enhance their organization's finance and accounting operations.

Download this white paper by Ventana Research to discover how midsize organizations should approach transformation and ways technology innovation can help:

  • Scale their business without having to increase administrative headcount

  • Enhance F&A performance by closing skills and cost-benefit gaps

  • Reduce manual processes to accelerate reporting and analysis

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