Industry watchers and analysts have been talking about how accounting automation will change the role of the Chief Financial Officer for years. In 2020, we are seeing the tipping of automation and major change in finance jobs.
With more and more automation tech being baked into accounting software and with more software-as-a-service accounting solutions and public cloud apps available to small and large businesses alike, accounting departments have been moving rapidly toward accounting automation in the last couple of years. With the recent impacts of COVID-19 including shelter in place orders and financial strain, many business are now being pushed toward automation.
How will Accounting Automation Change the Job of CFO
With robust accounting automation, the function of the CFO moves toward prioritizing innovation.
Currently, accounting departments in most companies spend about half their time creating and updating reports based on historical data, and only a small portion of their time is spent on revealing insights and planning for the future, according to Deloitte survey of 600 global finance leaders. Not to mention, the time-consuming task of period closings is a recurring headache for most organizations.
Accounting automation could soon eliminate up to 40% of transactional accounting work, according to Accenture’s Finance 2020 report. This would allow finance teams to replace time-consuming, under-valued and backward-facing tasks, and spend more time guiding highly valued and forward-facing processes.
Automation will enable accounting teams to create more value to the organization through predictive analytics, performance management and forecasting. CFOs who embrace their new role as a company visionary will be better equipped by adopting accounting automation solutions that not only streamline tasks that previously required manually processes but also deliver better analytics and real-time reporting.
However, as a result of accounting automation, accounting teams will require a different mix of skillsets and employees. There will still be demand for accountants and analysts, but strategists, data scientists and tech pro’s will become increasingly important to financial teams.
CFOs should be prepared to work with their executive peers and finance teams to help manage such dramatic changes. More than ever, CFOs should be concerned with change management, innovation and other critical issues to secure their seat at the table.
It is an exciting time for accounting teams and CFOs who can seize this opportunity to move their accounting processes into the future while reaping the benefits of better insights and more efficient processes. CFOs who adopt a mantra of better, faster, smarter accounting will have an easier time making a business case to colleagues and team members.
Accounts Payable Automation
Accounts payable processing is one of the most time-consuming functions required of accounting departments. Accounts payable workflows can automate approvals, invoice capture and offer flexible payment methods. While many accounting software solutions like Enterprise Resource Planning have some AP processing functionality, a purpose-built AP Automation solution that integrates with ERP solution is a critical part of accounting automation. Learn more in this article: Why Didn’t I Automate Payments Sooner?