With the growing sophistication of software solutions, automation is changing the landscape of the modern workplace. This is especially true in the world of finance, where businesses generate an overwhelming amount of data.
That’s why more and more companies are shifting from manually preparing their financial statements to automated financial reporting. If you haven’t made the switch, here’s why financial reporting automation can save you time as well as money and improve your overall business strategy.
Financial Reporting Automation
Financial reporting is a broad term that encompasses any financial results a company releases to external stakeholders. Financial reporting can include:
- The release of financial statements such as income statements or balance sheets
- Quarterly and annual reports
- Press releases regarding earnings
- Financial reports submitted to government agencies
- A prospectus issued to potential investors
Financial reports help give key stakeholders a holistic view of a company’s financial situation. But the process of generating these reports can be monotonous and laden with manual, repetitive tasks. That’s why a growing number of organizations are moving toward financial reporting automation.
Automation allows technology to take over processes that typically require lots of work from your team. And with automation software constantly improving, implementation in finance has never been easier.
4 Problems Automation Solves for Your Finance Team
What are the benefits of automation? Here’s how automating your financial reporting can solve some of the most common problems faced by corporate finance teams.
1. Preventing errors
When you rely on manual processes, human error becomes a significant issue. Even your most organized, detail-oriented team member can make mistakes. And in the case of financial reporting, these mistakes can lead to costly inaccuracies.
Technology allows you to automate error-prone tasks such as data entry and complex calculations. It also allows you to better define how protocols are followed and who can access your company’s sensitive financial information. This not only prevents errors but also reduces the risk of fraud by keeping tabs on user activity and individual transactions.
2. Improving data transparency and availability
With financial reporting automation tools, all of your company’s financial results can be linked back to the original data sources, providing a new level of transparency in your reporting. Moreover, automated data uploads deliver your company’s key financial stats in real time. Combined with a financial dashboard, this detailed level of reporting keeps you better equipped to meet the challenges facing your business.
3. Boosting productivity
Implementing automation in your financial reporting and planning processes may be the single most significant action you can take to boost the productivity of your finance department. Manually generating financial reports is tedious and eats up valuable time. But with automated financial software, you can combine data from different sources and create reports in a fraction of the time.
This also leads to significant cost savings. Employees once burdened with manually creating reports can cut down on overtime during the rush when reporting deadlines approach.
4. Creating more time for actionable insights
CFOs are feeling the pressure to function not just as financial experts but also as strategic decision makers and corporate liaisons. When you implement financial reporting automation and increase the efficiency of your finance department, you and your employees can focus on more important duties. With extra time to observe, reflect, and ask the hard questions, you can help generate the data-driven, actionable insights that drive growth in your business.
What About Implementation?
Don’t let the fear of implementation hold you back. Many organizations shy away from new solutions because their manual reporting processes are familiar. And new technologies like automation can seem costly and intimidating.
However, many financial reporting solutions are highly cost-effective and represent a substantial cost reduction over preparing reports manually. Plus, the latest finance software is designed to be intuitive, user-friendly, and easily customizable. Here are some best practices for corporate finance teams looking to implement automated financial reporting.
- Have a complete solution for financial reporting: When choosing a program to automate your financial reporting, make sure it can handle all your essential reporting functions from monthly reports to financial statements for regulatory agencies.
- Enhance reports and graphics: Don’t just focus on making your reporting process faster; try to make it better. Any solution you choose should contain robust analytics and strong data visualization to enhance your reporting.
- Be flexible: Advanced reporting software can customize your reporting content, style, and formatting to meet your company’s evolving needs.
- Think beyond financial reporting: Consider how an integrated automation solution could improve other finance-related workflows that fall under the office of the CFO.
Experience the Power of Automated Financial Reporting
Automating your financial reports may seem intimidating, but modern software solutions offer easy implementation that will optimize your finance department’s productivity and strengthen your strategic capabilities.
Interested in learning more about how automation can transform your entire finance function workflow? Download a free version of our Continuous Planning e-book.