COVID-19 and the various government programs designed to cushion the impact of the virus, including JobKeeper and the Coronavirus Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Guarantee Scheme in Australia, added an extra layer of demands on finance and accounting professionals.
Already struggling to come to grips with what COVID-19 meant, and the ongoing demands of their regular accounting roles, finance and accounting teams had to provide up-to-date reports and data to ensure companies were compliant with the government programs and that staff were receiving the assistance they required.
A sense of urgency
Working with independent research firm Censuswide, we surveyed 1300 C-level executives and finance and accounting professionals in midsize and large organisations in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia and Singapore, to find out how they were dealing with COVID-19 and the additional demands on their roles during the pandemic.
Pleasingly, we found that a third of those surveyed (36%) said the pandemic had already made their company invest more in technology that automates. Furthermore, 27% said they think their company will ultimately be better at dealing with uncertainty because of their experiences during the pandemic.
A more efficient, automated system to keep track of a company’s financial data can help reduce the pressure on the finance and accounting teams and give them time to do some of the more strategic analysis. Automation and increased visibility across the accounting and finance lifecycle can ultimately increase the capacity of existing finance and accounting teams.
“A more efficient, automated system to keep track of a company’s financial data can help reduce the pressure on the finance and accounting teams and give them time to do some of the more strategic analysis.”
During COVID-19 and the lockdowns, poor visibility and a lack of access to real time data had a real impact on companies’ abilities to respond and deal with volatile market changes. This is despite our survey finding that businesses now recognise the critical role financial data has to play in informing business strategy and continuity.
For example, 43% of respondents to our survey said their organisation has become more focused on scenario planning and stress testing as a result of the pandemic. But these kinds of exercises are not possible without reliable financial data.
One of the rare good things to come out the pandemic, is the accelerated pace of technological change everywhere. In our survey, 32% of respondents said developments over the past year have made people at their company value real-time access to financial data even more, and 31% said there is now more urgency to redesign core business processes.
And with just over a third saying that investing in their company’s data analytics capabilities will help their organisation retain a competitive edge – through allowing them to use data to make more informed business decisions – it’s a good thing that companies are expediting technological change, as it will ultimately be good for their bottom lines. We think there has never been a better time to make a business case for solutions that will enhance and preserve business continuity and agility.
Find out more:
To read the survey, visit the Blackline website.