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How technology can help to streamline and automate financial reporting: A new dawn for CFOs

Explore how technology is reshaping financial reporting, boosting efficiency and accuracy

In an era where technology continues to redefine the business landscape, financial reporting is no exception. The traditional approach of manual data collation, analysis, and report generation is increasingly giving way to automated processes, enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and timeliness.

As we navigate through this new age, CFOs and senior financial officials need to stay abreast with these advancements and understand their potential benefits.

According to a 2022 survey by Gartner, over 85% of CFOs identified technological adaptation in financial reporting as a top priority, highlighting the sector’s increasing focus on digitisation.

This is a response to the emerging technologies that are transforming the financial sector, such as automation, machine learning, blockchain, and cloud computing. These technologies are enabling CFOs to access real-time data, improve accuracy and reduce manual processing time.

Streamlining financial reporting with technology

Modern technology facilitates a seamless, error-free, and expedited financial reporting process. High-tech solutions like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are rapidly becoming indispensable tools in a CFO’s arsenal.

Accenture estimates that RPA can minimize the time it takes to complete specific tasks by up to 90%, and that robotics automation may realise cost-savings of up to 80%.

These solutions can sift through large data sets, perform complex calculations, and generate comprehensive reports in a fraction of the time it takes for a human workforce.

Furthermore, cloud-based solutions ensure data integrity and security while providing real-time accessibility. A case in point is Intuit’s QuickBooks, which allows CFOs to monitor financial data in real-time, from anywhere in the world, improving overall transparency and decision-making speed.

Automation: the new norm in financial reporting

Automation in financial reporting has the potential to significantly reduce human error, often resulting from manual data entry or oversight.

Automated financial systems ensure that entries are accurate, consistent, and in line with the latest regulatory standards.

For instance, companies like Xero and FreshBooks offer platforms that can automatically reconcile bank transactions, track expenses, and generate financial statements.

Such automation can free up valuable time for the finance team to focus on strategic tasks, like analysing trends, forecasting, and scenario planning.

The takeaway

While the benefits of technological advancements in financial reporting are compelling, they should not replace the need for human oversight and judgement.

CFOs must ensure the balance between automation and human involvement is maintained, for it’s their expert judgement that shapes financial strategy.

Embracing technology in financial reporting is no longer an option; it’s a necessity for businesses to remain competitive and compliant in an increasingly digital world.

The smart use of technology can help CFOs streamline and automate financial reporting, freeing up time for strategic decision-making, and positioning their organizations for sustained success in the digital era.

As Gray Scott, a futurist, once said: “To understand the future of technology, we need to begin with one fundamental truth: Technology is natural.”

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