Technological advances in recent years have not bypassed finance and accounting. On the contrary, they've played a significant role in changing business dynamics.
Many companies are considering a shift to automated financial systems to better handle complex processes. Automated financial systems can streamline processes, help an organization meet its overall goals, and, ultimately, save time and money.
In Benchmarking the Accounting and Finance Function: 2014 from Robert Half and Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), 24 percent of U.S. executives said they use third-party software for account reconciliation, more than double the number in last year’s survey. An additional 16 percent of respondents said they use an internally developed tool.
There are several reasons for businesses to consider switching from manual processes to an automated financial system, including:
- New and emerging regulations
- Evolving technology
- Company growth
In general, the benefits outweigh the possible disadvantages of moving toward adopting automated financial systems.
This type of automation can help an organization:
- Quickly assemble reports and balance sheets
- Eliminate lengthy manual reconciliation of accounts
- Control information flow across the company
- Facilitate efficient communication between departments
- Immediately access information
- Free up employees to devote more time to other tasks
- Reduce errors due to multiple data entry points
The potential drawbacks
Because they’re not perfect, these systems do come with some potential downsides. These include:
- Time required to train management and key users on the new system
- Cost of system software and training
- Potential security concerns of cloud-based systems
Transitioning to an automated financial system
If you’ve determined that shifting to an automated financial system is the right move for your business, get started with these five steps.
- Identify the key employees who will be involved in the transition, including those who will be trained first and those who will assist with the training.
- Consider which processes will be streamlined by adopting an automated financial system and which ones may still benefit from manual work.
- Make a rollout plan. Consider which staff members will need to take time away from their normal duties to assist with the implementation.
- Put your implementation plan into action. Expect some snags as employees get used to the new system, and emphasize the importance of accuracy during the transition.
- Continually evaluate the results of the move. You’ll want to ensure that accuracy doesn’t suffer while team members are still becoming comfortable with the change.
Switching over to an automated financial system can yield significant benefits for your company. It also takes a measure of planning and patience as your staff learns and adjusts. Having a plan in place will help ensure your organization benefits from the move and stays in touch with the newest technology.
Has your company implemented an automated financial system? Share your experience below.