Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are feeling pressure to report on more financial data in a shorter period to fit multiple purposes. This pressure stems from new accounting standards, increased regulation, a volatile business environment and heightened stakeholder demands. It has been a challenge for finance organizations to answer this call due to a financial close process that is belabored with decentralized, nonstandard manual processes forced to occur in a certain time period and an over-reliance on spreadsheets and workbooks.
Even organizations that have made an investment in technology are generally underutilizing the solutions and are leveraging basic capabilities (i.e., utilizing solutions as more of a document repository or workflow tool versus unleashing the technology’s true power to work smarter and increase productivity). To begin bridging this gap, CFOs and their respective finance organizations should take a holistic approach to the financial close process where finance is in a mode of “continuous accounting.” There is a focus on automation and high value activities (e.g., forecasting or data visualization that improve business decision-making) in order for accurate financial records to be readily available. Below we will discuss five ways a modernized financial close process can answer the call and provide value to an organization.