Automation can enhance the close process and deliver meaningful outcomes1
Automation is key to an accelerated, more efficient, and accurate financial close
Automating financial and accounting processes will help business leaders deliver the necessary financial information to institutional leadership for strategic decisions. To achieve this, business leaders must enhance financial and accounting functions with modern and innovative technologies specifically designed to streamline financial processes, remove manual intervention, and reduce errors.
Cloud-computing solutions enable accountants to focus on providing actionable financial information rather than just financial reports. Cloud solutions provide the ability to access more data for detailed reporting, automate data entry to reduce human error, and enable instant access to data for greater visibility on financial performance. Cloud solutions also minimize dependency on IT for implementation and support, and reduce IT infrastructure costs.
Robotic process automation (RPA) has significant potential to improve speed and quality and reduce institutional costs associated with the financial close. RPA software automates repetitive tasks in a time-efficient and accurate manner by removing manual effort for routine, knowledge-process work. Using a rules-driven structured process, RPA software connects with and integrates into existing systems by automatically pulling the right data out and writing back changes.
RPA is ideally suited to help institutions with their financial close considering the large number of transactions, repetitive and routine tasks, heavy dependency on spreadsheets, and manual intervention financial close typically involves.
Case in point: How Gonzaga University optimized its financial close with automation
Gonzaga University, a private institution in Spokane, Washington, with 7,400 students, implemented automation software in its 2017 year-end financial close process. Automation software was specifically implemented to eliminate redundancy and human error associated with Gonzaga’s use of spreadsheets for account reconciliation and journal entries.
The university was concerned that the year-end-close process caused stress and low morale among its accounting staff, but it soon realized the following benefits thanks to RPA:
• Hours and costs associated with overtime were reduced; duplicate effort was eliminated; and processes became more efficient and better controlled.
• The risk of human error was reduced with automation that eliminated binders and spreadsheets for account reconciliation.
• Employee morale improved; staff no longer needed to spend time on mundane processes.
1© Ovum 2017. Driving Higher Education Institution Success Through a Better Financial Process.