Finance and accounting teams in local government, higher education, and healthcare are often overworked and inundated daily with tasks and responsibilities that are critical to the organization’s success. Because there are no shortcuts when it comes to producing accurate figures and reliable data, hours upon hours can be spent on mundane, yet necessary duties. In fact, over 40% of workers surveyed spend at least a quarter of their work week on manual, repetitive tasks, with email, data collection, and data entry occupying the most time.
A modern software solution is key in helping teams reduce time spent maneuvering outdated spreadsheets and working tirelessly to operate more efficiently, collaborate more effectively, and make more informed decisions. But as digital transformation and technological advances increasingly disrupt traditional finance and accounting practices, industry leaders cite “the impact of technology” as the #1 issue keeping them up at night, unsure of the best ways to leverage these new solutions.
The full stack of manual finance reporting processes can keep your team working around the clock, only to succumb to sunk costs, inaccurate reports, security risks, and compliance mishaps. Consequently, in an era of unprecedented technological growth, organizations that adapt with the changing pace and its ensuing challenges will reap the benefits.
While some view the technological disruption as a potential threat, forward-thinking organizations and teams recognize the power of technology to positively transform, enhance, and streamline repetitive, time-consuming tasks. This functionality enables finance departments to dedicate more time to value-add and rewarding activities.
Read ahead for 5 critical tasks that, when coupled with technology, can be positively transformed.
Task #1: Financial Reporting
Financial reporting is an intense project for most finance teams. From consolidating data to writing reports and publishing material, timely delivery is often bogged down by fragmented workflows, siloed information, inaccurate spreadsheets, and outdated processes. Add in the fact that financial reporting must be completed both quarterly and annually and it becomes clear why this task requires an extensive amount of time and energy.
How Technology Can Help: Audit reports, payment records, continuing disclosure, and debt and lease schedules may involve very manual processes that can take days or even weeks to complete. The right solution scales your reporting efforts and equips your team with easy and quick access to high-quality, accurate financial reporting.
Task #2: Auditing
Audits are dreaded by finance teams because of the time and preparation they require. Often, the uneasiness associated with audit season is a direct result of a lack of standardized processes, organization, accessibility, and compliance. Audits go smoother when all of your lease contracts and key lease details are prepared in an easily readable format and when journal entries and financial statement note disclosures are readily available and ready to review.
How Technology Can Help: A solution such as lease management software can help you stay organized by providing a centralized repository for all your debt and lease schedules and contracts, enabling access to up-to-date payment projections and surfacing the underlying documentation requested by auditors. A platform, like DebtBook, also allows you to invite unlimited users to your workspace and puts you in control with the level of access you grant external guests, such as auditors, CPAs, or advisors.
Task #3: Collaborating Internally and Externally
Debt and lease management requires internal, cross-functional collaboration and, at times, external efforts, too. Scheduling time for all parties to meet and review updates is not always feasible and often, meetings are not long enough to dive into all of the details.
When information is scattered across spreadsheets and processes vary based on each individual contributor’s preferences, working together can become a pain. A single source of truth simplifies collaboration and makes it easier for all parties to be on the same page.
How Technology Can Help: A modern software solution enables your team to collaborate across a single platform without the need for multiple spreadsheets to manage your debt and lease obligations. With a central repository for all data analysis, source documentation, and reporting, teams can efficiently and thoroughly manage their debt and lease obligations, making precise reporting easily achievable.
Task #4: Inputting and Securing Data
Accurate and secure data is at the core of your team’s success. Inputting data is a monotonous task that requires extra care and attention to ensure each figure is entered correctly. Moreover, the data contains valuable, proprietary information that need not be accessed by unauthorized users. Manually inputting the data into spreadsheets is risky because there are no restrictions or safeguards to track and prevent the spread of inaccurate information or unshareable data.
How Technology Can Help: Debt management solutions such as DebtBook protect critical financial data from cyber or malware attacks. Software provides password-protected system access that safeguards sensitive data. Additionally, cloud-based databases allow data access by multiple users at a time and offer different levels of secure access depending on user roles and needs. A cloud-based system will also give you 24/7 access to critical debt and lease information in the event of an attack.
Task #5: Tracking Payments and Schedules
Effective debt and lease management requires ongoing awareness of upcoming payments and due dates as well as knowledge of who paid the debts and when. Tracking such detailed records is critical for building accurate financial reports. But relying on spreadsheets for producing, manipulating, and storing important financial data can lead to inaccurate information from invalid and broken formulas buried in your data.
How Technology Can Help: A modern software solution provides your finance team with detailed, accurate debt and lease schedules and automatically notifies you of important dates, deadlines, milestones, and tasks so you never miss a payment.
The Future of Finance and Accounting Technology Is Now
The finance industry is known for its slow adoption of technology, but in the midst of a digital revolution, the time to embrace technology is now. The future of finance combines the emotional intelligence of financial professionals with the right modern software and tools to automate tasks, promote efficiency, and boost productivity.