Are you under pressure to close your books faster? You’re not alone. An overwhelming 93% of respondents in our annual “Close the Books” survey revealed finance professionals are under pressure to close the books faster.
With today’s ever-changing business environment, companies need to be able to pivot and make proactive decisions based on the most up-to-date information. For the finance team, this often entails having to reforecast, re-think, analyze, and act on new data – on top of the traditional, and at times, stressful task of closing the books. Juggling these new demands has created the need more than ever for a faster, more efficient way to close.
With this in mind, we created the 2022 Close the Books Survey to learn about the state of the close today and to translate the findings into practical strategies and best practices that can really help you achieve a faster and more accurate close. The survey results revealed there are 3 key strategies to achieving this:
Strategy #1: Automate your key accounting processes to save time and reduce month-end stress
No more late nights and working weekends. When you automate accounting processes, like reconciliations, it reduces the time needed for manual time-consuming tasks and tracking down errors at month end, plus it frees up time for the finance team to focus on analysis and higher-value activities.
Almost 70% of respondents “absolutely or strongly agree” that
automation saves time at month end.
Strategy #2: Leverage AI to increase the speed and accuracy of your close
No more waiting until the month end to make adjustments to get an accurate picture of your financial numbers. AI works 24×7. It continuously scans data to check for accuracy and alerts accounting teams to fix errors as they happen. And, because AI is purpose-built and embedded in accounting software, it has the ability to reconcile transactions in real time, learn from data to generate valuable insights and monitor performance throughout the period.
“Sage Intacct’s GL outlier detection reviews our journal lines at a much deeper
level than we could review manually. It finds errors on the front end so we can fix
them before they get to internal and external users of our financials.
It helps us maintain accuracy and credibility.”
– Erin Horak, VP of Finance, VRC Investigations
Strategy #3: Invest to make your close processes more efficient
No more inefficient, outdated, and redundant close processes. To achieve a faster, more efficient close, you need to look at ways to streamline your close processes. To do this, requires investing in any or all of these—technology, additional headcount or resource time to evaluate and improve close processes.
Organizations continue to invest in the close over the past year:
40% adopted new technology, 33% added more headcount and
29% automated key accounting processes.
Companies are recognizing the value of cloud-based accounting
Companies are continuing to move to cloud-based accounting solutions at an accelerated rate. This high adoption rate came as no surprise because cloud accounting software offers many benefits over spreadsheets and legacy on-premises systems, such as the ability to access data anytime, anywhere. This enables finance leaders and their teams to make actionable data-driven decisions based on real-time information. And, with built-in automation, embedded AI and seamless integration to other systems, companies of all sizes are achieving faster, and more accurate closes when moving to a cloud accounting software.
In our survey, 87% of respondents have moved to cloud-based or
hybrid accounting solutions—a 50% increase from last year.
Sage Intacct helps organizations knock down barriers to execution with connected cloud accounting solutions. To learn more about practical strategies that can help you achieve a faster and more accurate close, and how your finance team can gain more time to analyze information and provide valuable insight, download our e-book, Unlock Value with the Keys to a Faster Close..