Advanced finance teams are adopting a smart approach to transforming the traditional close process – continuous financial close is a dynamic process in which close activities are spread throughout the month. Soft close can happen any day and a formal close within two to three days. The ultimate goal is on-demand close, where finance professionals have access to real-time data to accurately close the books at any point in time.
There are four dimensions to understanding why this journey from continuous close toward on-demand close is relevant to your finance team today.
Competitive edge from insights
With companies flooded with external and internal data, access to information is no longer a competitive differentiator. Companies are now focused on shortening the data-to-insight-to-action journey, and faster close and reporting is an important step. It brings better accountability, agility, and visibility, helping financial controllers become more valuable business partners.
As people have become accustomed to the ease of using Siri, Uber, and Airbnb, finance professionals are experiencing a big divide in the way they interact with technology outside of work and then during office hours. Such innovation and customer centricity should define their workspaces, too.
Finance professionals across countries and cultures know that the run up to the financial close period means limited time for family and friends during that five-to-ten-day cycle. The cumbersome processes associated with collating and validating data, and handling exceptions, tie accountants to their desks. A faster and smoother financial close improves the work-life balance and helps retain high-performing employees.
Advancing with technology
An advanced finance function doesn't shy away from deploying new technology and supporting enterprise growth. Cloud-based solutions offer faster access to new technology while driving standardization and the adoption of best practices. And by introducing robotic automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to accounts payable, accounts receivable, and journal entry, companies are reducing manual effort and unlocking new insights.