Part 3 of the “Risk of Manual Processes” series about how to improve efficiency, accuracy, and compliance in the financial close process.
Top accounting and finance professionals are in a powerful position. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for accountants is predicted to rise 10% through 2026, faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.
As a result, in order for finance organizations to retain and attract A-level talent, they need to offer plenty of perks, an attractive company culture, and process automation solutions that automate the most manual work – freeing well-trained staff resources to focus on analysis and solving business problems.
Without the right technology in place, companies miss out on the full value that the best accounting and finance professionals have to bring to the table and risk losing them to companies that are more forward-thinking.
Recruiting and onboarding challenges
Turnover is increasingly more expensive as recruiting becomes more difficult, and a job description for data entry, manual ticking and tying, rolling forward monthly spreadsheets, and hunting through binders for supporting documentation is a tough sell.
Additionally, when a new employee walks into an organization that relies on manual processes, there is a heightened risk. The predecessor probably didn’t leave detailed documentation for policies and procedures. He or she most likely relied on tribal knowledge to do the job and left a pile of binders and checklists galore – each one more difficult to decipher.
Unstandardized processes and policies
Before automation, accounting teams might understand rules and regulations, but no individual approach or process was standardized. Excel is a blank slate and therefore a challenging tool for enforcing controls and best practices.
When processes aren’t standardized, it’s nearly impossible to gain assurance that everyone is executing effectively or in accordance with policy.
Version control complications
Spreadsheets are inherently risk-prone, and one reason is version control. For example, if a late entry changes the general ledger, the trial balance is automatically updated. But there’s no guarantee that the balance change made it to the spreadsheet-based reconciliation substantiating the balance.
And just like that, you have an incomplete reconciliation and probably control deficiency, too.
Without automated integration between critical processes and the general ledger, you run the risk of an accidental error. And when supporting documentation is stored in disconnected folders or shared drives, there’s no guarantee that an outdated version of a critical document won’t be sent to the auditors or a key stakeholder, causing unnecessary confusion or different versions of the truth.
Build your solution in the cloud
Upgrading to a cloud-based technology solution built specifically for accounting and finance immediately increases controls and dramatically reduces risk in its many forms.
Process automation minimizes manual errors that can generate inaccurate financial statements, equips accounting and finance teams to improve productivity, encourages innovation, boosts morale, and helps accelerate the business. Instead of juggling multiple versions of the same spreadsheet, teams gain game-changing visibility into real-time data that supports more informed business decisions.
Modernizing manual processes with automation significantly increases retention and transforms accounting and finance into a trusted partner in business performance. It provides the path to free up valuable talent from repetitious work, so accountants can expand their skill sets and experience analytics, modeling, or even rotational programs within the business.
Automation leads to more satisfied and engaged teams, and your organization becomes significantly more attractive to highly skilled, prospective employees. Better still, you can finally trust the numbers again.
Read this brief to learn more about how you can improve manual processes and unleash the value of your top talent.
This article originally appeared on BlackLine.com and is republished by permission. BlackLine is an SAP partner.