Six benefits of automating the financial close

Six benefits of automating the financial close

How can businesses ensure that the financial close is conducted effectively, leaving finance free to provide the strategic insight needed to achieve business growth?

The financial close is often a challenging and time-consuming operation for many businesses, as finance functions throughout the UK battle to complete the process quickly and on time. Most businesses are currently struggling to do so, with 87% of finance professionals working overtime during the financial close, demonstrating the lack of efficient procedures in place.

While finance teams spend significant time on the closing process, they are unable to focus on important tasks and high-value work that will drive the business forward and deliver results. So, how can businesses ensure that the financial close is conducted effectively, leaving finance free to provide the strategic insight needed to achieve business growth?

Automation driving efficiency and effectiveness

Manual processes are no longer suitable for growing businesses. In addition to a lack of visibility over numbers and performance, they present a high risk of human error with potentially serious consequences. Errors can be costly – both in terms of a business’s finances and brand reputation, as well as on the time spent correcting mistakes during the close.

Automation is key to efficiency. With only half of CFOs trusting their numbers and 78% of finance directors under pressure to close faster, adopting automated Record to Report (R2R) processes will improve the quality of financial data, remove timing pressures, and reduce the number of people needing to be involved in the process.

Six benefits of automating the financial close

The greatest obstacle to greater efficiency and process effectiveness is failing to adapt to technological advances. Here are six benefits you can expect to achieve from automating the financial close.

1. Increased visibility

Automation will give you increased and real-time visibility into the R2R process, enabling you to gain true visibility over potential bottlenecks and areas of high risk, giving you the ability to prioritise high risk tasks first before they have a chance of negatively impacting the business. Additionally, this visibility will allow you to uncover what improvements need to be made over the next period, as well as identify which individuals have completed certain tasks and which actions are outstanding.

2. Time savings

Eliminating manual processes and adopting automation will save businesses time without compromising on quality. Best performing companies can reduce the time spent preparing, reviewing and approving tasks and activities, resulting in a 40% reduction in the number of days required to close and consolidate. In addition, this allows finance teams to avoid doing re-work and enable them to focus on value-adding initiatives and analysis.

3. Enhanced compliance

As increased compliance burdens put greater strain on businesses, leveraging technology for your financial close will ensure that you meet reporting obligations, completing all necessary data fields in their entirety and on time. Automated R2R technology enables businesses to create a full audit trail, allowing internal and external audit to have full knowledge of workflow, priorities and emerging risks.

4. Employee satisfaction

Talent is increasingly key to business success with retention of valued employees and high performers paramount. Ensuring that procedures and processes in which they operate are fully functional and as minimally burdensome as possible will create a happier and more productive workforce who are able to spend their time on value-added tasks instead of manual, menial and repetitive activities.

5. Better decision-making

66% of finance professionals say they have no time for analysis. With automation in place, technology provides an intelligent approach to maintaining accurate data, thus allowing the finance function to step away from data management and move towards providing strategic advice that will propel a business to further its growth and success. Ultimately, automation enables skilled finance teams to deliver continuous improvement by allowing them access to the actionable intelligence necessary to make better decisions.

6. Fewer errors

Brand reputation is crucial in today’s business climate. With up to 88% of spreadsheets containing errors, automation removes this risk, protecting a business’s integrity and continued growth. On top of that, 73% of finance professionals rate manual, spreadsheet intensive processes to be the biggest pain point in their R2R process.  As mentioned above, automation mitigates errors, reduces costs, time burdens, protects brand reputation, and helps employee retention.

Next steps

As technology advances, businesses continue to evolve, transforming the role of the finance function from one of compliance to one of strategic adviser, providing trusted guidance and contributing to business growth and success. Technology enables businesses to adapt and improve, and by applying automation to the financial close, businesses can reap the rewards, enhancing their efficiency and effectiveness to thrive in today’s business climate.

Discover more about R2R automation and find out how Trintech can help you transform the finance function to achieve business growth and success.

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