The world of finance is changing, and with that has come the need for CFOs and finance managers to stay savvy and modern in their approach to managing finances in 2023. After an unprecedented global pandemic turned legacy finance systems on their head with the need for remote and hybrid work, modern businesses require speed, agility, and flexibility in order to stay on top of financial performance. Financial officers are under more and more pressure to modernise and adapt with the times, but are often held back and frustrated by the limitations of their current back-office finance systems that haven’t been brought up to speed. A new Foundry MarketPulse survey has identified the many challenges faced by financial managers today. Let’s take a look at the top frustrations of finance teams and how to tackle these pain points with a responsive and modern financial approach.
LOST PRODUCTIVITY TO MANUAL PROCESSES
38% of finance executives agree that productivity losses are being caused by time-consuming manual processes. For small and midsize businesses, losing countless hours of work to time-consuming and tedious manual processes such as data entry is not only a major drainer of productivity and efficiency, it’s also one of the biggest factors leading to frustrated team members. In fact, a whopping 59% of survey respondents said that the time they spend on manual accounting, compliance, and financial close tasks inhibits them from working on higher strategic projects.
For many modern CFOs tackling this issue is their first priority, with 78% of survey respondents ranking boosting efficiency and reducing costs as top of their priority list. For savvy CFOs looking to modernise their systems and relieve the frustration of manual data entry, modern accounting software with advanced automation tools should be the first place to look. Advances in financial software solutions means that almost every process can be automated within the finance function, including everything from AP workflows to Billing and Revenue Recognition. What does this mean for your financial team? Automating manual processes can boost efficiency by 40% or more, totally eliminate the risk of human error, and give back your team the time they need to spend on purposeful high-level future strategy and growth.
THE NEED FOR REMOTE/ANYTIME/ANYWHERE ACCESS
A close second to time-consuming manual data entry, 37% of finance leaders agreed that one of the most frustrating aspects of accounting and financial close is not being able to provide employees with remote/anytime access to the financial data they need. This is a typical problem associated with teams still using on-premise legacy software that has to be manually installed on specific devices. Given that hybrid and remote working has become the norm in this post-pandemic climate, the need to modernise these back-office systems with a finance system that provides remote anytime access to users is greater than ever.
In order to arm their teams with the data they need at all times, CFOs should stay ahead of the curve by investing in a cloud-based accounting system. With cloud-based financial technology, all financial data is securely stored in the cloud, not on an on-premise server, giving users anytime access from anywhere in the world. Following the pandemic which saw offices shut down for months on end, it’s unsurprising that the need for remote access has become a necessity in modern finance. In fact, two thirds of business and technology leaders said their organisations have accelerated cloud migration over the past 12 months with 72% always defaulting to cloud-based services when purchasing new technology. By embracing this shift to the cloud, CFOs will gain a significant number of financial advantages alongside being able to ensure their team has 24/7 access to the data they need.
DATA INTEGRITY/DATA QUALITY
Another concern for finance leaders is the integrity and quality of their financial data, making the need to improve data accuracy for real-time decision making and reporting their second highest priority. 51% of finance teams surveyed said that company leadership requests real-time financial information outside of normal reporting periods. With a legacy accounting system, responding to real-time requests can feel almost impossible due to the need to chase after spreadsheets and data from other departments just to be in a position to start compiling a report. For any organisation using entry-level accounting software, real-time reports are not quick or accessible, and data is stuck in time.
Luckily, the shift to cloud-based finance technology has brought innovative new real-time capabilities that can completely transform an organisation’s data quality and reporting systems. With modern real-time data insights and analytics, organisations have the ability to see exactly where their financial performance stands at any given moment in time, improving both data accuracy and integrity. With a contemporary cloud-based platform, every team member is given access to a centralised, updated, and accurate pool of data ensuring they have the numbers they need to compile accurate, up-to-date reports in just a few clicks. Leadership have access to the granular real-time information they need for accurate planning and forecasting and all team members will save an incredible amount of time by working from a single shared source of truth that remains accurate at all times. What does this mean for your team in practice? It means shortening the time it takes to close by up to 80%, boosting productivity, and giving your team more time to focus on high level strategy.
As the working world and the education sector continue to change rapidly around us, savvy CFOs must adopt more reactive and modern finance systems to be able to meet these changing demands and continue to scale their organisations. The modern CFO is tackling age-old finance systems head on with contemporary accounting software solutions; mundane manual data entry tasks are being replaced with advanced automation tools, cloud-based infrastructure is now a must since on-premise software is no longer functional in a post-pandemic climate, and real-time data capabilities are finally solving issues with data integrity while giving leadership the real-time insights they need to make lasting positive change and strategic decisions.