Is your finance team spending too much time on manual processes? Managing processes can be time-consuming for finance teams, especially with issuing and processing invoices, keeping track of budgets, and creating financial reports. As your business grows and processes and reporting become more complex, it’s common to waste incredible amounts of time with manual data entry, unruly spreadsheets and time-consuming workarounds. No matter how skilled your finance department may be, any system that relies on manually inputting data from paper is slow and subject to human error. Every time a piece of paper changes hands, you introduce an opportunity to misread, misplace or misunderstand something. For a company that handles tens of thousands of invoices per month, even a tiny margin of error can result in huge losses. Manual processing also leads to a lack of control and visibility, leaving you unable to make informed decisions to effectively lead your team, creating an environment vulnerable to fraud.
Ideally, as the CFO or financial manager, your finance team has a strategic role, supporting you, the CEO and the leadership teams to make critical business decisions that shape the future. But what if you don’t have time to do that necessary work? What if you’re spending 10 or more days on monthly financial closes, reviewing and reconciling your records? You might have monthly closes, quarterly closes, or annual audits to deal with. Today for most businesses, there’s a lot of repetitive work involved to get through those cycles due to time-consuming manual processes. You and your finance team could save a lot of time spent on those manual processes by moving to automation with cloud accounting.
“Thanks to Sage Intacct’s powerful workflows, we’re 60% more productive overall, and as a result we’ve been able to shift 25% of the energy that we spent on bookkeeping and data entry into more strategic projects, like supporting the business with analytics or adopting new accounting best practices.”
Jennifer Loving, CFO, Woodfin Heating, Inc.
Another advantage that comes with automated cloud- accounting is to increase the speed and accuracy of your close with AI.
“Outlier detection is hands down my favourite thing that Sage Intacct has done so far. It allowed us to catch an overstatement of revenue of about $350k before it was in the books. Now the entire company trusts the finance organisation, and the numbers that are in Sage Intacct. It’s really moved us into that advisory role.”
Erin Horak, VP of Finance, VRC Investigations
If you’re looking at getting automation going, here are some steps you might want to take.
It’s essential to understand what area of your finances could do most with automation. You could focus on reconciliation, for example, a massive drain of resources for any finance office. Automation could allow you to import statements from your financial institutions and automatically reconcile them in minutes when managing your cash.
When looking at automation within departments, investigate what the return on investment would be. Get relevant stakeholders in from the departments in question and try and create a business case.
You need to get information straight from stakeholders on what they understand when it comes to automation and how it would be able to benefit them. You and other leadership team members should help the wider business understand what automation can do and how it could make their working lives easier, letting them focus on more critical, less repetitive tasks.
The technical leadership needs to start small with automation, get the business used to the technology, and expand it when it gets used to the changes.
With the cloud, your finance team can become more agile and faster, gaining efficiencies through the time you save by removing time-intensive manual tasks. To extract value from automation, it will be up to you to assess commercial models, look at the risks, recognise and account for value, and apply controls and governance.
Create a clear automation roadmap. You’ll have to work closely with your people, who will drive the use of new technology.
With the tech in place, you’ll need to work at measuring your progress and ask a few questions of your finance team:
How are you using automation, and are you doing it right?
How effective are your new processes?
Are they leading to the productivity and efficiency improvements you expect?
What outcomes do you see with the new technology?
How can you get business metrics for your intended goals?
Are you interested in finding out more about how cloud accounting can assist your finance team to achieve a faster and more accurate close of books? Contact us at Akuna Solutions and find out from a Sage Intacct implementation specialist how your organisation can have a finance transformation and benefit from one of the world’s leading cloud-based business software platforms – Sage Intacct.
We look forward to helping you find your way forward!