New report examines challenges finance leaders are currently facing and how they are adapting to drive growth and efficiencies
● The report found that 60 percent of financial leaders in Canada said time spent on tedious manual processes inhibits their work on strategic projects
● Financial teams are under increased pressure with more than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) say company leadership is requesting financial information in real-time to better understand company performance
TORONTO, ON— Sage–the leader in accounting, financial, HR and payroll technology for SMBs–released the Managing Modern Finance in a Time of Unprecedented Change report which examines challenges finance leaders are currently facing and how they are adapting to drive growth and efficiencies. The report found that almost two-thirds of financial leaders in Canada (60 percent) said the time they spend on accounting, compliance, and the financial close inhibits their work on strategic projects.
Commissioned by Sage and published in partnership with Foundry MarketPulse, the report surveyed 200 Canadian financial and accounting leaders at small and midsize businesses, which paints a picture of busy finance teams frustrated by time-consuming manual processes. The report found many leaders struggle to have a holistic view across the organization and are stymied by the patch work of siloed systems and databases. On average, one in five (20%) of the tasks associated with the financial close take place outside of financial/accounting applications.
“The current economic volatility has introduced complications businesses and their financial teams are struggling to keep up with,” said Daniel Oh, VP, Medium Segment Leader, in Canada for Sage. “The new challenges underscore the need for responsiveness and automation in a digital age. Canadian business leaders know they must pick up the pace. Taking the right steps to modernize accounting management systems will help finance teams overcome legacy challenges and gain insights that will help them to stay agile and drive growth.”
Prioritizing Efficiency and Insights
Financial teams are under increased pressure to become more agile and responsive to market trends. More than two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) say company leadership is requesting financial information in real-time to better understand company performance. As such, respondents are prioritizing initiatives designed to increase efficiencies and reporting capabilities. The top five priorities for finance and accounting leadership, include:
● Improving efficiency / reducing costs – 67 percent
● Improving the accuracy of data for real-time decision making – 60 percent
● Strengthening security controls – 54 percent
● Improving financial reporting capabilities – 54 percent
● Improving data availability – 49 percent
Conversely, while financial leaders are eager to work on strategic projects including providing real-time financial reporting, they are frustrated by time-consuming manual processes. The survey found that 40% of financial leaders acknowledged lost productivity caused by time-consuming manual processes. Other frustrations of the financial close process include:
● Keeping up with technology updates – 37 percent
● A lack of adequate staff resources – 33 percent
● The need to provide employees with anytime/anywhere access to data – 32 percent
● Inability to forecast accurately – 29 percent
Building an Agile Future
To help drive efficiencies and greater real-time visibility across a company’s operations, the report identified several technologies that can significantly reduce time spent on manual processes.
Adopting a single cloud platform
Integrating financial data on a single cloud platform gives everyone a common, updated, and accurate set of numbers to work with. Standardized formatting resolves data integrity issues when calculations are performed with different measurements or updated at different times.
Automate tedious manual processes
Automation can help reduce manual processes enabling finance teams to prioritize their time on strategic projects to drive growth. Additionally, automating reporting processes can reduce the risk of errors that could affect the accuracy of analysis.
A unified financial management platform
A unified financial management platform enables organizations to obtain, organize and share real-time insights holistically across operations; as well as enable increased collaboration across departments. Consolidating financial information on a platform can help to reduce the time spent on management chores while also reducing risk.
“In today’s hyper-competitive and volatile economy, businesses can no longer rely on inefficient manual processes, scattered data, and reports that are stale by the time they’re published,” add Oh. “Speed, agility and accurate insights delivered in real-time help businesses grow and are becoming the gold standard for success. By integrating applications and data on a cloud-native platform, finance leaders can automate tedious processes and gain real-time insights into operations, which will help future-proof them during times of unprecedented change.”
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