COVID-19 has tested the resiliency of businesses around the world far more than any other event in recent memory. As offices went remote, accountants needed to quickly adjust to work-from-home policies and navigate the impact that had on their workflow. For some, that meant longer hours and later nights worked. For others, it meant an almost complete standstill of work as calls were made to check on the status of various tasks. Only those who had prepared by transforming their office of finance before Covid-19 were able to flip the switch to a remote work environment fairly unscathed.”
Today, organizations have adjusted a bit, and the situations and working environments that were once foreign have become the new “business as usual”. Because of this, many organizations have gotten comfortable with their current circumstances. However, the impact of COVID-19 has not yet been felt in its entirety and many companies that were floundering at the beginning of 2020 will soon find themselves in the same predicament.
Problems on the Horizon
According to a recent Trintech poll, only 19% of organizations were fully prepared to take their financial processes virtual in the wake of COVID-19. For the remaining 81%, the move to a virtual environment introduced an unprecedented level of confusion and disruption to the workflow.
It’s important for all organizations to recognize two truths:
- There will be no “return to normal”
- Additional problems are on the horizon
If the issues that came to light at the beginning of the COVID outbreak have not yet been resolved, they will continue to negatively affect the office of finance. Additionally, new issues such as the need to understand and plan for new financial reporting considerations, assessing the impact on current cash positions, and bracing for an unpredictable revenue and profitability mix in their key markets, will soon be piled onto the list of challenges the overall organization must face.
For most, the methods and processes that organizations relied on to complete the Record to Report process both pre-COVID and during the past few months will no longer be sustainable. Manually processing financial information has dominated the office of finance for decades, and even though many have at least in part phased out some of the manual work, with the new obstacles that exist in a post-COVID world, accountants will need as much time as possible to provide updated reporting and insights that are essential to driving critical business decisions. In order to be prepared for the future, change must take place within the office of finance to free up that time.
Building a Business Case
As time goes on, transforming the office of finance to overcome these issues will grow in importance. However, proving that need to the overall business can be difficult. With so many departments competing for a limited budget, accountants have always struggled to receive the funds they have requested. Instead, the office of finance has been forced to “do more with less” and make do with the limited budget they are given.
In order to ensure that the office of finance receives the tools necessary to efficiently and effectively complete the Record to Report process, there must be a compelling business case. Creating a strong business case that is underpinned by a robust financial analysis, and shows a clear understanding of the opportunity cost associated with ignoring this ROI, can help drive the office of finance towards an increase in efficiency and effectiveness, and prepare them for the future.
To learn how to build a business case for Record to Report transformation, read our eBook.
Written by: Caleb Walter