For accounting and finance professionals, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019 to early 2020 coincided with closing the books on 2019 and producing external reports. For most, this meant working remotely and using the technology solutions already in place. Anecdotal reports from practitioners indicated that financial reporting teams generally were able to meet their responsibilities, even under pandemic conditions, with the available infrastructure. But, has a new normal triggered a rethinking of existing solutions for the future?
Through the responses of about 200 practitioners to an online survey, we evaluated financial reporting professionals’ appetites for moving toward more sophisticated cloud-based technology solutions with a focus on the last steps of financial reporting. This includes taking information from various ledgers, spreadsheets, and internal templates to producing, approving, and delivering reports to external users.
Key findings include:
- Before the pandemic, corporate organizations placed a fairly low priority on technology-based financial reporting solutions compared to other areas. For example, two-thirds of respondents indicated that they were behind other internal teams in the competition for resources.
- Nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated that time management had become somewhat or significantly more challenging during the pandemic with a significant number indicating a prioritized interest in cloud-based collaboration solutions that document management reviews and judgment estimates.
- A notable portion (about one in four) expects a significant or moderate budget increase for corporate reporting solutions into 2021 and the post-pandemic period. Most of this appears to reflect an interest in cloud-based solutions.
Although respondents generally reported that they can get the job done with status quo technology, they nonetheless showed preferences for new solutions around (1) control ownership and succession and (2) assessing revenue expectations.