Technology: Changing Financial Preparations

Published on 27th July 2015

In today’s economic environment, and given the numerous competitive pressures that African businesses are faced with, it is little wonder that businesses are being forced to streamline their entire operation to have some chance of success. Belts need to be tightened and focus needs to be placed on core competencies. What’s more, frequent accurate financial reporting is becoming more and more critical as it not only provides a platform on which to view the financial standings of the business, but also ensures risk can be mitigated, broader business decisions can be made more accurately and the business can be opened up to investment.

In fact, the importance of financial compliance and corporate governance cannot and must not be underestimated. Rather these should form the basis of sound financial reporting, especially as Africa starts to take its rightful place in the global market and as businesses look to infiltrate and expand across the continent.

For any business, profitability is important – and when it comes to processes and procedures businesses need to find new ways to improve efficiencies and automate the process – the same can be said when it comes to the preparation of financial statements and reporting. If they haven’t already, businesses should consider automating these critical financial processes not only for efficiency – but for accuracy, completeness and in compliance with the relevant standards that ensure peace of mind. Automating financial processes reduces potential risks as monthly management reports and the annual financial statements run off the same data through the automated systems, making the entire process easier as there is also an audit trail to follow.

Often, what happens in companies is that their monthly financial reporting does not tie in with the annual financial reporting – as such this is not a true reflection of the business. It also allows financial statements to be done more frequently, though only required once a year – which enables businesses to have a real view of their business health and this information is constantly updated and readily available so that they are able to respond much quicker to business growth and opportunities. 

In essence, financial reporting software eliminates the risk of errors and inconsistencies associated with using massive spreadsheets. A built-in validation process immediately brings any discrepancies to the fore. It also drastically reduces the time and frustration spent on drafting and preparation of Annual Financial Statements so that businesses can provide their auditors with the information they require -in the correct format so there is no need for the auditors to re-work anything – with obvious cost benefits to the company.

What’s more, as technology advances, it is changing the way the financial team in companies work where the intelligent cloud offering adapts the environment – especially as more organisations adopt a remote model of working – ensuring teams can work from anywhere, anytime time where the solutions integrates the desktop capability using the same interface makes the change seamless. With cloud and integrated smartsync technology whether the relevant financial team member is online or offline, at home or at the airport, they can work on the company’s financial reporting in real time. If they are offline, their changes will be updated the next time they connect to the network. Team members can work on local copies of financial reports, with each file synced automatically in the background so that data integrity is not jeopardised. This opens up a new level of working for the financial team in any organisation.

As a result, it is imperative that companies look for technology ambassadors, those individuals that will drive a vital agenda amongst colleagues, peers, practices, etc. to foster in-company adoption of this type of technology which in turn will contribute to business growth and increased productivity.

It is no secret that emerging technologies are continuously fuelling innovation in many industries, and the financial sector is no different where cloud strategy has evolved rapidly. As such, the evolution to automated financial report software is inevitable and to realise innovation of benefits like cost, speed and efficiency while balancing requirements – security and compliance, organisation would need to take the leap and utilise this hybrid cloud software.

As technology becomes more intuitive, it will continue to address even more pain points and becomes an enabler for financial reporting – changing the way firms operate where it ensures they are both connected and intelligent from a critical financial perspective.

By Theuns Holtshousen,
Divisional Business Leader, CaseWare Africa.

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