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How to Address Increasing Demands on Finance Teams in The Age of Doing More with Less

How to Address Increasing Demands on Finance Teams in The Age of Doing More with Less

How to Address Increasing Demands on Finance Teams in The Age of Doing More with Less

As part of Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Seriesa collection of contributed articles written by our enterprise tech thought leader community—Monica Boydston, the VP of Product Management at insightsoftware, offers suggestions on how companies can address the increasing demands placed on finance teams.

A recent report found that more than two-thirds of IT and finance professionals waste a whole day each week on operational reporting. As the demand for accurate reporting and financial predictions increases amid a volatile economy, companies risk employee burnout and turnover. Combined with skills shortages and an overreliance on IT to make sense of data in complex business systems, companies are draining resources while pushing them to do more with less.

Adding to the strain, senior accounting and finance professionals are reportedly becoming increasingly less efficient across all major responsibilities under pressure from inflation, economic disruption, and a looming recession. Despite these challenges, how can organizations streamline their processes and rein in the time spent on operational reporting? The answer: ‘The Connect Effect.’

The Connect Effect

‘The Connect Effect’ creates consistent and familiar user experiences when pulling such operational reports, leaving time for more value-added tasks. For a connected approach to reach its full potential, CFOs and IT teams must collaborate early on. Teams must remove manual processes and spreadsheets in budgeting, planning, close management, and reporting and begin investing in the right systems. These systems should support robust/adaptable processes, enable non-technical employees, minimize disruption, maintain efficiency through a significant system change, and automatically integrate data from across the organization.

Unfortunately, despite the recent noise around artificial intelligence (AI), fewer finance professionals are prioritizing automation. In fact, senior accounting and finance professionals report a decrease in automation of tasks from 40 percent in 2022 to 25 percent in 2023. This is a concern given that inefficiencies and time spent on reporting will only increase as tighter budgets slow down hiring. As finance and IT professionals must do more with less, automating previously manual processes will be critical. In response, they can look to implement ‘The Connect Effect,’ structured around these four key concepts:

Connected data

This means working from a single source of truth, ensuring all data is integrated into one easily accessible system. This guarantees that the data is up-to-date and available when employees need it. Additionally, this will eliminate the need for manual exportation.

Connected capabilities

Connected capabilities would significantly improve the relationship between finance and IT professionals, as 66 percent of finance teams are overly reliant on IT. Connected capabilities empower departments such as finance to pull their data and create reports. This will increase the efficiency of both finance and IT teams simultaneously.

Connected applications

As mentioned, finance professionals are reportedly becoming less efficient as economic pressures mount. Implementing connected applications throughout your organization can reduce tedious, manual processes, increasing efficiency and the speed of information between business segments.

Connected global teams

The pandemic ushered in remote work opportunities and allowed employees to work from anywhere. As organizations commit to hybrid work environments, they must continue to invest in new tools, platforms, and capabilities that can bring people and data together to increase data accuracy and streamline workflows globally.

Utilizing Better Automation

The point of automation is to make jobs easier and more efficient—so any system that is difficult to use or, even worse, one that creates additional work—won’t be worth the cost. To ensure a connected approach is taken and properly executed across an organization, organizations should consider a few crucial factors to ensure the right automation is utilized.

First, look for automation that supports robust and adaptable processes. This is critical during mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as new modules and data must be incorporated. Additionally, automation that allows for adaptation ensures that new hires can hit the ground running—without losing efficiency and critical knowledge from employee turnover.

Similarly, it’s critical to invest in automation that will integrate all solutions to generate accurate reports. If an organization cannot automatically incorporate all the data available from multiple platforms, it’s likely decreasing efficiency instead of improving it.

Additionally, implement automation that can easily migrate and scale to maintain efficiency and minimize disruptions. Migrating to the cloud, for example, is one instance where many organizations lose efficiency and experience significant disruptions. Without proper automation, IT employees will be forced to manually transfer data to the cloud, resulting in time and data loss.

There are multiple facets to building a truly connected organization. By understanding “The Connect Effect” and its key concepts, the right automation can ensure finance teams feel supported and empowered no matter the demands they encounter.

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