COVID-19 Exposed Weaknesses in Organizations’ Financial Close Process and Accelerated the Path Towards Automation
Trintech conducted a global survey of 486 financial professionals across 430 organizations in Q1 of 2021 to evaluate which parts of the financial close process have been automated, which are in the process of being automated and where finance and accounting (F&A) teams are looking to adopt automation in the future. COVID-19 exposed weaknesses in organizations’ financial close process and accelerated the path towards automation. The Trintech 2021 Global Financial Close Benchmark Report provides an analysis of the research.
Key findings from this survey include:
- The top 3 challenges the Office of Finance experienced within the financial close process in 2020 were all influenced or accelerated by the pandemic
- A lack of automation is identified as the largest contributing factor to an inefficient financial close
- Process standardization and automation are the key areas of improvement for 2021
- Completing quality work on time, while simultaneously balancing workforce issues (i.e. attracting talent and managing employee burnout) will be the biggest challenges for finance professionals over the next five years
2020 was a defining year for the CFO as they broke out of the compliance box and returned to their role as an essential strategic leader of the organization – one relied upon to shape critical business decisions when COVID-19 impacted businesses of all sizes. As companies transitioned to remote operations, organizations that relied heavily on manual processes found it difficult to continue to do their jobs at the same level – let alone deliver on the new expectations required of them to provide timely, critical business insights. What is certain is that these expectations are now essential for businesses moving forward, however, the ad hoc processes many organizations were forced to adopt in the short-term to meet those expectations are not sustainable long-term. Now is the time for organizations to institutionalize technology to standardize and automate key financial processes to be able to continue to support these growing expectations.