TORONTO, June 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Wise, a leader in accounting, finance, HR and payroll technology for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), today shared the results of its annual report Close Book Survey. Based on a survey of more than 1,400 finance and accounting professionals in more than 60 industries, findings reveal that 93% of respondents are under pressure to close the books faster. More than 60% say that speeding up the closing process would allow them more time for data analysis to uncover insights or trends.
The unprecedented global events of recent years have created a rapidly changing business environment. These developments have also created unique opportunities for innovation. Finance teams are looking for new ways to be more agile in order to keep up with these constant changes and ensure the continued success of their businesses. Manual financial close processes, often the norm with on-premises accounting software, can negatively impact agility in several ways, including consuming time and slowing access to real-time financial and operational information. needed to make strategic business decisions.
Insights gathered from the survey results data revealed three key strategies for organizations to achieve a faster close:
- Automate key accounting processes to save time and reduce stress. 60% of respondents “strongly or strongly agree” that automation saves time at the end of the month. Automation eliminates time-consuming manual processes and helps eliminate error-prone spreadsheets. Key processes that surveyed companies choose to automate include proactively checking for discrepancies or errors, daily bank reconciliations, and bank or credit card feeds. They ranked the most time-saving templates for journal entries and pre-built dashboards and reports.
Large companies reported having 40% more automated processes than small companies. This automation allows them to close their accounts 15% faster than small businesses, even though larger companies often have to deal with complex accounting issues like intercompany transactions and foreign currency conversions. On average, finance teams at large companies report having 22% more time to analyze data.
- Take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) functionality specially designed and integrated with your organization’s accounting software. AI gives organizations the ability to verify the accuracy of large volumes of data in minutes and learn from that data to provide valuable insights. This will increase the speed and accuracy of the fence. While AI is still going mainstream, according to the survey, 21% of large enterprises are already on board with AI and seeing its benefits.
- Invest in a faster close adding new technology, additional staff or dedicating resource time to assess and improve the month-end close process. To achieve a more efficient and faster close, like any other process or series of processes that need to be streamlined, companies need to invest in one or all of these areas. 40% of survey respondents said they had adopted new technology this year to help with the closing process, nearly double the number from last year.
“It’s important for accounting software vendors to help businesses streamline their processes and remove barriers to success,” said Aziz Benmalek, president of Sage North America. “Sage continues to integrate advanced features, such as AI and machine learning, into our solutions to increase automation, increase efficiency, and free up finance teams to spend more time adapt to change. The less time companies spend closing their books, the more time they have to analyze results and make strategic decisions to drive growth. »
Continuous movement to the cloud
The expansion of the work-from-home model and the current trend of digital transformation are driving a big shift towards cloud accounting. This year, 87% of companies said they have a cloud-based or hybrid accounting solution. This represents a 50% increase over last year’s survey. Of those using a hybrid or on-premises solution, half plan to move to a fully cloud-based solution within the next two years.
Survey results revealed strong adoption of cloud accounting software in organizations of all sizes, as it offers many advantages over spreadsheets and legacy on-premises accounting systems. This move to this software has provided more businesses with the automation of key processes, seamless integration with other key business systems, anywhere/anytime date access, and agility. needed to evolve as they grow.
To see the full results, download a free copy of the 2022 Close Books Survey report.
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