Process Automation in Accounting and Finance
It’s a familiar scene: With month-end closes on the horizon, Excel sheets surface permanently on every computer screen. The steady tap of keystrokes streams through the office. Weary accountants in the midst of manual calculations and redundant processes wonder: Why didn’t my company automate?
In light of growing demands to streamline accounting practices, IMA has partnered with BlackLine to produce a study on process automation in accounting and finance.
The study surveyed 751 financial professionals on:
- the extent to which companies have automated their accounting processes;
- where they would like to automate;
- the challenges they face; and
- the best practices for automating.
Processes examined include bank, credit card, and operational reconciliations; account reconciliations; cost allocations; amortization; journal entry creation; variance analysis; and controls verification.
- Many firms could benefit from a more continuous accounting approach: Processes traditionally left for the month or period end should be spread throughout the period more evenly.
- Two-thirds of the respondents said they rely heavily on spreadsheets, increasing both time spent on financial statements as well as the risk of inaccurate results.
- On average it takes about seven days to complete the closing process.
- Only 20% of those surveyed were very satisfied with their current closing process, and only 28% completely trust the accuracy of their financial reporting data.
- Only about a third of the companies surveyed have automated some part of their accounting processes in the last year.
To learn more about the research findings and how employees can discuss the ROI of automation with company leaders, download the report.