It is that time of the month, once again. Finance experts are going through routine tasks the next working days hold within. Joint effort to close the books of previous calendar month takes its time. If there is a delay in the chain at some point, the schedule for closing is in jeopardy. Stakeholders around the organization are keen to see the output. The importance of the effort is undisputed, still preparing it feels like necessary evil. For quite some time analyzing the output has been the target instead of getting it done in a tight schedule. We haven’t seen the shift on a such scale, we would have expected.  

Table 1. According to BearingPoint's CFO 4.0 study companies are somewhat between in shaping to data-driven company in terms of maturity. 

The Need for Operational Efficiency in Organizations

Simplifying processes through automation 

Over the last years, many finance teams have repeatedly found themselves in a never-ending race against the clock, buried under piles of repetitive tasks and manual number-crunching.  The increased number of manual work has forced the teams to concentrate more on generating figures rather than analyzing the results. 

It is well known fact in finance teams that the dawn of automation has indeed arrived, revolutionizing industries and business across the globe. Moreover, the integration of automation is transforming the daily work for controllers and other finance experts.  

Though implementing automation may first seem like a challenging task, the long-term rewards are simply too promising to overlook. Also, the focus has shifted from merely reducing routine tasks and manual work to unlocking totally new levels of creativity and problem-solving. 

Actually, over 70% of companies see improving processes as the most crucial activity to facilitate digital transformation within the CFO function. 

Table 2: CFO 4.0 study: The most crucial activities companies are doing to facilitate digital transformation in the CFO function. 

Error Reduction & Data Quality 

All the information is in bits and pieces and the number of individual excel reports is overwhelming. Errors are literally a click away”, might be an often-heard statement in the hallway during the reporting period.  

The finance teams have also long been aware of the consequences of errors in manual reporting. Miscalculations and inaccuracies might potentially threaten the organization’s financial health, or at least cast doubt on the teams’ reliability. Moreover, constant double-checking of calculations is both time consuming and inefficient. 

In financial reporting, automation and data governance play crucial roles in enhancing both error reduction and data quality. As controllers and other finance professionals increasingly adopt automated solutions combined with well-structured data governance model, they can move their focus on more strategic tasks, knowing that their data is secured. Automated systems not only save time by reducing manual input but also increases confidence in the data used for critical decision making.

Table 3: Data Quality Elements, good quality data is the base for high-quality reporting. 

Streamlining Operations

During the reporting period, complexity of daily tasks and the vast amount of data to be managed manually is straining the productivity of financial experts. There is a growing need for operational efficiency within the finance departments. It has become increasingly clear that streamlining operations is essential for improving the operational performance, and moreover, enhancing communication between the finance team and the stakeholders. 

Not only the error reduction and improved data quality, but optimizing operations is also a vital component of embracing automation and unlocking its full potential. In fact, before considering automation, it is crucial to optimize existing processes. In BearingPoint, we’ve helped numerous clients to optimize their existing business processes before moving on to automatize processes. Optimizing processes and eliminating redundancies in itself leads to increased productivity and improved overall performance. Moreover, streamlining finance reporting operations through automation not only enhances operational efficiency in daily tasks but also contributes to the organization’s financial wellbeing. 

By adopting an optimized and efficient approach, companies may better allocate resources and improve responsiveness in a rapidly changing market.  As the finance industry keeps evolving breathtakingly fast, optimizing operations and automation will remain a cornerstone of innovation and growth. 

Conclusion

The transformative power of integrating automation in daily operations for financial professionals is undeniable. The benefits of error reduction and streamlined operations not only make the work more enjoyable but also liberate the full potential of financial experts to contribute to the organization’s growth. 

Achieving operational efficiency through these approaches offers several key benefits such as: 

  • Increased productivity 
  • Faster decision-making processes 
  • Reduced costs 

These advantages enable the finance team to allocate resources more effectively, allowing them to focus on high-value tasks, such as strategic planning, risk management, analyzing the business and providing their core product (information) to organization’s stakeholders. 

As we’ve explored the importance of automatization and more efficient reporting, the next natural step for finance function is to dive deeper into the world of business partnering and to see how finance teams can further impact on organizational growth. In our next blogs, we will discuss more in detail how integrated automatization and more user-friendly reporting platforms can help finance professionals to become true business partners.   

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to learn more about our European-wide CFO 4.0 study and how we can help you to unlock the full potential of your finance team. As we join forces and work together, we’ll be more than business partners; we’ll be a unified force driving your team towards success. Because together, we are more than business. 


Contant

Mikael Lankinen 
Senior Business Consultant