Financial reporting is a tedious task and there always seems to be another report to prepare. Your finance department has the training and insight to do more than just push paper.
According to Deloitte, 60% of CFOs polled at a webinar reported that their biggest challenges were quickly modelling business decision implications and conducting contingency planning for current or potential disruptions.
Pair this with the fact that 37% of them manually aggregate data and perform modelling offline, you can see why organizations struggle with these issues. In this article, we’ll cover how automation can fix these issues and what other benefits your business can see.
Where does automating fit into the FP&A function?
We believe that there are 5 key trends in FP&A this year—all backed by software and technology. These trends include automating the Office of Finance and improved scenario planning while combining zero-based and driver-based planning. As well as the rise of the digital boardroom and, collaboration and governance.
The Office of Finance
In the Office of Finance, automating tasks like data entry can improve time savings drastically. In the past, adding new information to a spreadsheet would take many hours per week. But a software solution can do all of this for your business in much less time.
Automation can take care of the manual aspects of planning & control, management reporting, financial closing, and many more. This means more time for analysis and understanding and less time for laborious data entry.
What-If Scenario Planning
With everything happening in the world right now, it’s easy to see why business decisions need to be made quickly but also accurately. So instead of manually creating models for each new event, software solutions can provide real-time insights that change with every new piece of data.
Using technology, you’ll be able to link all the necessary operational data to build scenario models. Whether you’re interested in the short or long-term, profitability or playing it safe, your automated models will give you the information you need.
Traditional processes are only valuable when the future doesn’t see any disruptions to normal operations. That’s why an approach of coupling Zero-based Budgeting and driver-based planning is essential going forward. This strategy will give your finance teams a holistic overview of potential strategy implementation impacts.
- Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) starts every new budget with a clean slate and every function is then analyzed based on its needs and costs. Budgets are then built around any necessities for the next period.
- Driver-based planning is about creating plans and budgets based on key industry and value drivers. Scenarios are based on models so that managers can identify potential and predictable results.
The Digital Boardroom
These days, technology has made its way into many facets of everyday life and the boardroom is no different. With companies turning to finance professionals as leaders in strategy, finances, and operations, improving their decision-making with Business Intelligence (BI) is essential.
By giving them access to organized data from across your company, they can identify key areas for growth and improvements in the business.
Collaboration and governance
Since the pandemic began, remote work has become the new normal for many businesses. But the constant reviewing and double-checking of financial tasks don’t fit well into the current business environment.
That’s why implementing the right software solution will enable your team to work on the same real-time data, ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
These 5 trends are just some of the improvements happening in the FP&A space on the back of automation. Here’s a further breakdown of the benefits of automating financial reporting.
What are the benefits of automating reporting?
There are many benefits to automating Financial tasks and functions. These include time savings, improved efficiency and cost reductions. Here at the top 5 benefits that we’ve picked out:
1. Cost Reduction
By the nature of automation, everything is done with technology so you can save on printing costs. Forget about the reams of reporting packages that get printed every day because your reports will be available through the cloud.
Besides the printing itself, you can save money on storage space and wages. Financial reporting is a time-consuming task. Let software handle the manual tasks so your finance department can get back to focusing on higher-level tasks.
2. Time Savings
Time is the one factor no one can get back, don’t let it go to waste on automatable tasks. Decrease turnaround times and create reports in a fraction of the time it takes a human. It can also combine and consolidate data from multiple sources with ease. Automated FP&A software saves process time, so you can figure out what to do with the reports.
3. Efficiency Improvements
Humans aren’t great at juggling many data points at the same time, this can lead to decreased efficiency. Current FP&A tools such as EPM or CPM software, can easily locate specific files, reports or any piece of data that you need to use. And as long as the software has the right inputs, your reports will be error-free.
4. Ready for audit at any time
Financial automation tools can easily create trails for your business or outside stakeholders. Plus, they are easy to access in case of an audit. This saves time and money because your finance department won’t have to prepare for the audit manually.
5. Risk Reductions
When it comes to repetitive manual tasks, it’s easy for us to make mistakes. Sometimes this can be prevented, but eventually, an error can slip through. By automating the process, all data is linked together creating a trail to follow. Having a transparent process helps to locate the origin of mistakes and enables you to fix them faster.
Give your finance department the help they deserve
Automation and Business Intelligence are keys to coming out of the pandemic stronger than ever. They don’t only save your teams from manual labor but they can improve your planning, collaboration and provide deeper insights into where your business is at and where it should be going.
Don’t get left behind in 2021, start by analyzing where your business needs help most and create a plan for growth.
Here at ProLytics, our elite team of consultants will guide your organization through the automation process. We specialize in the design and deployment of EPM and Business Analytics software.
What does this mean for you? It means we can provide a solution that is tailored to your business’ needs. We’ve helped businesses across the world in retail, legal, banking, finance and more. If you need help evaluating your automation options, contact our team today.
Want to know how to keep your business on track when planning for 2021? Read about four practices you can immediately implement in your organization right now with Best Practices for Navigating Finance Planning in 2021.
ProLytics Consulting Group is a business and technology consulting firm that specializes in areas of Enterprise Performance Management and Financial Business Intelligence & Analytics. With decades of successful implementations, ProLytics understand and value that each company is unique. We are committed to working closely with each customer to to deliver value added technology solutions that solves their one-of-a-kind challenges.