There’s no doubting that all businesses have had it tough during the last year, but our research has shown that finance professionals have been on the receiving end of a raw deal.
Prior to the crisis, British businesses confidence was at an overall high, with over 80 percent of organisations surveyed reporting that they had a high level of positivity for their business future. Inevitably, the current pandemic has changed this outlook for many.
Finance professionals quizzed by our survey reported a huge number of challenges that the pandemic either instigated or simply enhanced beyond normal levels. These included:
- Payment cancellation and delays (faced by 54 percent)
- Late payment of invoices (faced by 41 percent)
- Supply chain problems (faced by 23 percent)
- Technical software challenges (faced by 19 percent)
Whilst the last percentage may seem small, it is only when you examine the wider picture that you realise that payment delays, supply chain issues, invoice queries and supply chain issues can all be related back to poor technology utilisation.
What is abundantly clear is that finance professionals need reliable systems, unified ledgers and powerful automation now more than ever. Over half of the organisations we surveyed stated that they had introduced proactive measures to ensure a return to pre-pandemic levels within the next 12 months, including investing in new technology. 18 percent are looking to move to cloud-hosted systems, whilst 12 percent are interested in automated technologies.
Crucially, for finance professionals to operate successfully in the new remote working environment, access to both of these elements is required. There’s never been a greater need for complex accounting practices, but reviewing your current way of working, and adapting where possible, could have a hugely positive impact on your productivity, workload and wider business growth.
For example, by utilising a unified ledger system, you can eliminate the need to reconcile separate sales, purchasing and general ledgers, instantly improving the speed and accuracy of your reporting. What’s even better is that with Cloud hosting, you and your team will have access to the same financial data and information, no matter where they may be located.
You can also save valuable time and effort by taking advantage of invoice matching automation. This powerful tool can completely remove the need to manually match invoices to records by using machine learning. It’s 71 percent faster than human processing and could also reduce your processing costs by up to 80 percent – when you also add in the elimination of human issues such as internet connectivity problems or illness, what’s not to like?
There’s no denying that financial security has also been a key concern during the great shift to remote working, but cloud-based finance systems can provide an answer to your security worries. Financial management suites are hosted on remote access servers, that are maintained by expert teams around the clock. There’s no need to worry about losing a day’s work to system outages, or to fear the threat of data loss or breaches due to poorly maintained servers.
By speeding up your day-to-day finance tasks with smart automation and workflows, you can also free up vital time that you could be spending on more value-adding work and strategies. Communication can flow more freely when you have the time and mental clarity to put towards more valuable projects, guiding and shaping your business to reach post-pandemic success.
Financial reporting is also taking on a bigger role than ever, and it is important to have a true overview of your organisation’s finances at any given point. Unified ledgers can enable true real-time reporting for time-poor finance teams, with the best systems allowing even non-financial staff to build easy to understand reports that can power wider business decisions.
Ultimately, the need for a bespoke, flexible financial management system to enable working in a smarter, more agile way has never been greater, but we’re here to help!
If you have enjoyed this article, you might be interested in our free insight guide, “Finance departments in the next normal – making the difference to your organisation”. It’s packed with findings from our survey and valuable insight that has helped many organisations not only survive, but thrive during the pandemic. You can download a copy for free now.
Many financial professionals have turned to the IRIS Financials Suite to help them thrive during this crisis. IRIS Financials Suite is an all-in-one financial management system that enables cross-location remote working – you can find out more about our exciting new features here.