Automated Account Reconciliation: Empowering the Accountants of Today
Click, drag, enter, scroll and repeat. Originally, relying on spreadsheets to balance your company’s books and reconciliation processes seemed like a great idea, right? Spreadsheets are commonplace and adopting new technology can feel inconvenient even when you know it will ultimately reduce financial risk for your company.
However, new technologies, such those used to automate account reconciliation, can create new opportunities for your employees to stay engaged, which prevents turnover. Over the next ten years, it is expected that businesses will see a 10% increase in demand for finance and accounting professionals1. Retaining employees will require a little more motivation on your part and theirs. In return, your company will benefit from an increase in productivity and strategic insights that can help you evaluate both current performance and new opportunities.
Attracting Top Talent
Before your accountants become motivated employees, they must first be hired and attracting top talent starts with speaking their language: clearly defined goals and technology that enables their success. Today’s accountants are technology savvy, effortlessly moving between desktop and mobile-based projects2. However, continuing to mire them in spreadsheet swamps prevents them from developing into strategic contributors to the company. If you’re known as a company that has evolved its processes to best-in-class, you’ll be at the top of the list of companies that talented professionals want to work for.
From Processors to Analysts, Accountants Have Room to Grow
Yes, your reconciliations must get done somehow; by automating this process, you can prevent it from consuming an unnecessary amount of your staff’s time and energy. Today, a large part of that energy is spent simply processing data in manual spreadsheets. Through automation, your accountants will actually have time to thoroughly research and document variances, complete in-depth training to become more informed problem solvers and even develop their careers. Now, you can enable them to become proactive problem solvers and not simply data processors.
Before you become wary of pulling your hard-won accountants away from tried and true methods, consider the following: they may leave on their own to pursue a better way of doing things. According to Accounting Today, large firms report turnover of 23-24%3, an exodus that severely hinders consistent productivity and goal-setting. Your ability to retain talented employees directly correlates to your ability to innovate in all areas of your business. Conversely, those that don’t evolve may quickly cease to exist.
What Your Accountants Can Do with the New “Free Time”
Once you’ve freed up your team’s time and energy, there are a variety of more challenging, fulfilling and beneficial projects that they can pursue to make your company more competitive in the marketplace. For example, many companies choose to encourage cross-training in groups to provide additional insights on the company’s financial performance.
On the employee-benefit side, accountants could have time to conduct payroll analysis at the individual employee level, not just departmental, to discover budget gaps and opportunities. This strategy can help you prevent burnout and turnover problems in one neat package. It’s important that you’re able to offer employees the opportunity to work with each other, not simply their spreadsheets.
Maintain Workflow Consistency with Automated Account Reconciliation
Working together will help your team create and accomplish shared goals, but relying on manual workflows will hinder or completely prevent any progress. Automation ensures that everyone is using the best tools to dependably reach the end goal, and its implementation greatly reduces the risk of costly errors that are inherent in spreadsheets. Through a division of labor and clearly defined processes, the right people are involved in each step of the workflow.
How to Move Forward
Accounting attracts a special breed of person, and they deserve to have their valuable time used productively. With this in mind, it’s time to transition to an automated account reconciliation process to solve your manual madness. By doing so, you will remove mind-numbing manual tasks from your accountants’ days, be able to attract top talent, reduce risk in your balance sheet and prevent workload dumps. Now is the time to use those financial minds to grow your business, not your spreadsheet collection.
To learn more about overcoming key challenges in your account reconciliation process, check out our solutions.
Written by: Chelsea Downey
1Accountants and Auditors. (2018, April 13). Retrieved April 20, 2018, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2 6 Millennial Habits That Shape Workplace Technology. (2017, August 24). Retrieved April 23, 2018, IT Weapons.
3 Hood, D. (2017, November 13). Accountants need to plan their technology transformation. Retrieved April 23, 2018, Accounting Today.