This is a guest blog post from our partner BlackLine. The author, Jason Brisbane, defines accounting automation and details its top five benefits.
What is Accounting Automation?
The need for on-demand visibility and actionable insights to navigate today’s dynamic business environment has never been greater. Technology, specifically accounting automation, can be a foundation to providing fast and continuous information to key stakeholders, supporting the agile decision-making that is required to make critical decisions in a timely manner.
Traditional manual accounting processes introduce risk and consume so much capacity that it prevents effective decision-making. A recent study found that nearly 70% of global business leaders and finance professionals reported that their organization has made a significant business decision based on inaccurate financial data. And over 55% are not completely confident they can identify financial errors before reporting results.
Accounting automation reduces the manual effort required to perform tasks and access information. Configurable rules and workflows, global visibility from anywhere, streamlined reconciliations, and journal entries ensure more time can be spent on actionable analysis and strategy.
Here are the top five benefits of accounting automation.
Benefits of Accounting Automation
1. Time Savings
The benefit of time-savings that automation delivers cannot be understated. With automation, you can eliminate repetitive tasks, significantly reduce error-prone spreadsheet work, and shift audits to a self-service model. Low-value activities like faxing, copying, and physical storing of documents are eliminated with automation.
With the time savings, accounting staff can be re-deployed to addresses more strategic tasks, and teams can scale to support growth without adding additional headcount.
2. Higher Productivity
The before-mentioned time savings benefits from automation enables accounting staff with more time to do what they are hired and trained to do—partner with the key stakeholders of the organization to guide the business with meaningful data and input.
Automation also frees accountants to focus their efforts on higher-risk areas, like judgments and estimates, new business models, or complex transactions, and it provides opportunities for talent development which improves retention and helps Accounting avoid costly turnover.
3. Insights & Analysis
Accounting automation allows you to unify data quickly and continuously. This enables more frequent exploration of trends, exceptions, and insights without having to wait for period-end close. More time for analysis and quality insights means you’re better positioned to support agile decision-making.
Accounting staff can easily build reports and dashboards that can be adjusted to when new revenue streams, cost centers, and other business changes are introduced. Without reliance on IT for maintenance, Accounting and their business partners can engage in new initiatives without the worry of unnecessary bottlenecks.
4. Data Security
Manual accounting activities require the use of spreadsheets that have minimal security, lack preventive controls, and increase the risk the for cyber-attacks and errors. Accounting automation reduces the use of spreadsheets that require sending and receiving in favor of a single version of the truth with embedded workflows and segregation of duties.
When needed, auditors can access information securely, in a self-service model, reducing the risk associated with providing audit requests in paper, flash drives, or other less secure means.
5. Improved KPIs
It’s well-known that what gets measured often gets done. As accounting teams look to modernize their processes, scale forth growth, and provide better insights, accounting automation platforms not only address the underlying processes but also enable tracking.
With a single point of collaboration for accounting, leaders can monitor KPIs like unrecorded adjustments, open tasks, and late journal entries. These metrics not only enable better business decisions, but also can be used to drive accountability and change throughout the accounting organization.
Manual accounting processes are not sustainable to thrive in today’s accelerating pace of modern business. Accounting automation is required to continuously monitor for error and inefficiency before they become misstatements.
This blog post was originally published on the BlackLine blog.