Almost every industry is facing a labor shortage that is restricting businesses’ ability to grow. While employee engagement strategies can help attract and retain key talent, technology to help digitize your close often offers an impactful solution to overcome the labor gap.
Finance leaders are overwhelmed with creating reports, leaving them with less time to analyze financial information and advise executives on using that information to make better decisions. An over-reliance on Excel creates a complex and redundant data trail. Reports and spreadsheets often reference these Excel files rather than directly querying a singular data source.
The solution, while not the best one, is often to hire more people in the finance/accounting department to support new business units, geographies, product lines or sales channels. Particularly in today’s challenging labor environment, leaders should be looking to the latest in proven technology to minimize the number of hours, and individuals, needed to run the business efficiently.
Digitizing your close process can involve a blend of tools and platforms based on your core enterprise resource planning (ERP) or accounting package. Modern accounting systems, depicted below, are great for tracking transactions, not reconciling account balances. Most reconciliations are still handled in Microsoft® Excel, which is time consuming and prone to human errors.
Upgrading to using cloud-based accounting software can help you find enormous efficiencies:
- Organization — Store close documents and processes in one consolidated platform
- Collaboration — View progress, receive notifications and gain a sense of process transparency
- Integration — Seamlessly integrate close management software with current applications and Excel workbooks
- Automation — Leverage artificial intelligence and other technologies to decrease the amount of manual transactions matching and reporting
All of these technology solutions offer various benefits, and we make it our goal to keep up on the best of the best available. Recently, we attended Workiva’s Amplify Virtual Conference and are excited about a number of new features that can be beneficial to your accounting close process. Workiva is one of many tools that can help you navigate our current labor environment and come out ahead for the long-term. This tool combined with other leading digital accounting and finance technology and best practices can draw a line of distinction between you and your competition.
>> Learn more about Workiva’s Wdesk. Its newest features give users the ability to design and automate streamlined user experiences for tasks, actions, due dates and status signoff, shaving time off close and reporting cycles; link current and future data within the platform; and connect to partner services, solution templates and prebuilt system connectors via a “marketplace” website. The software also made key updates for those looking to improve on their close and reporting cycles, such as pre-built connectors with common ERPs.
Contact Jim Boland at email@example.com, John Cavalier at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jason Zeman at email@example.com to discuss this topic further.
Cohen & Company is not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice. Information contained in this post is considered accurate as of the date of publishing. Any action taken based on information in this blog should be taken only after a detailed review of the specific facts, circumstances and current law.