Why Top Performers Use Automation for their Financial Reporting and Consolidations

It's a sprint to get ahead

Rapidly evolving market conditions, stakeholder expectations, and regulatory requirements, finance and accounting (F&A) functions play a pivotal role in driving organizational success. A robust F&A system is essential for ensuring accurate financial reporting, timely decision-making, and effective risk management. However, the traditional financial close process, often reliant on manual data entry, spreadsheet reconciliations, and time-consuming reviews, is increasingly becoming a bottleneck for businesses striving for agility and growth.

Top-performing companies have recognized the transformative power of automation in streamlining their financial close processes, unlocking a multitude of benefits that contribute to their overall success. By embracing automation, these organizations have achieved remarkable improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and control, propelling them to the forefront of their respective industries.

What is a Top Performing Company?

When a company is described as a “top performer” in the area of financial reporting and consolidation, it means that it excels in managing and presenting its financial information in an efficient, accurate, and transparent manner. This involves several key characteristics:

Accuracy and Reliability: Top performers ensure that their financial statements are accurate, meaning they present a true and fair view of the company’s financial position. This involves meticulous attention to detail and adherence to accounting standards.

Timeliness: They are prompt in releasing financial reports. Timeliness is crucial for stakeholders like investors, creditors, and regulatory bodies, as it ensures relevant and current information is available for decision-making.

Transparency: These companies are transparent in their financial reporting, providing clear and comprehensive information without concealing or manipulating data. This builds trust with stakeholders.

Compliance with Standards: They strictly adhere to established accounting standards like GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) or IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards). Compliance ensures consistency and comparability of financial statements across different periods and entities.

Efficient Consolidation Practices: For companies with multiple subsidiaries or operations in different countries, efficient consolidation is key. This means accurately combining financial data from various sources into a single, unified set of financial statements.

Advanced Use of Technology: Top performers often utilize advanced software and technologies for financial reporting and consolidation. This can include automated systems for data collection and analysis, which improves efficiency and reduces the likelihood of errors.

Strong Internal Controls: They have robust internal controls in place to prevent errors and fraud in financial reporting. This includes clear policies, regular audits, and checks and balances within the accounting process.

Effective Communication: Beyond just preparing reports, top-performing companies are also adept at communicating their financial position to stakeholders in a clear and understandable way.

Risk Management: They are proficient in identifying and managing financial risks, which is reflected in their financial reporting.

Forward-looking Information: Apart from historical data, these companies often provide forward-looking statements and projections, which are valuable for investors and analysts.

The importance of being a top performer in financial reporting and consolidation lies in the confidence it builds among investors, creditors, and the market. It indicates a well-managed company and often leads to better investment ratings, easier access to capital, and a stronger reputation in the market.

Competitive Advantage

What you should do

Below are how top performers leverage automation for their finance & accounting processes, highlighting the tangible benefits and strategic advantages it offers.

Reason 1: Eliminate Human Error and Enhance Accuracy

Manual processes and spreadsheets, while ubiquitous in financial close procedures, are inherently prone to human error. The repetitive nature of data entry tasks, coupled with the complexity of financial calculations, increases the likelihood of mistakes, leading to inaccurate financial reporting and potential compliance issues. 

According to a study by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP), up to 98% of organizations have experienced errors in their financial close process. These errors can have significant consequences, including delayed financial reporting, reputational damage, and even legal repercussions.

Automation addresses these challenges head-on by replacing manual data entry with automated data capture and validation, eliminating the risk of human error. Automated systems can also perform complex calculations and reconciliations with impeccable accuracy, ensuring the integrity of financial data.

Reason 2: Streamline Operations and Free Up Valuable Time

The traditional financial close process is characterized by repetitive, time-consuming tasks that drain valuable time and resources from highly skilled finance professionals. These tasks, often involving manual data entry, reconciliations, and report generation, divert attention away from higher-value activities such as strategic analysis, risk assessment, and financial planning. 

Automation can alleviate this burden by automating routine and repetitive tasks, allowing finance teams to focus on more strategic initiatives that drive business growth. According to a survey by Deloitte, companies that have automated their financial close processes have reduced the time spent on routine tasks by up to 70%.

Reason 3: Embrace Automation for Competitive Advantage

By implementing automation in their financial close processes, top-performing companies have achieved a significant competitive advantage.

Automation has enabled these organizations to:

Reduce financial close cycle times: Automation can significantly reduce the time it takes to complete the financial close process, allowing companies to release financial reports more quickly and gain a competitive edge in decision-making.

Enhance financial control and governance: Automated systems provide real-time visibility into financial data and enable tighter controls over financial processes, improving risk management and compliance.

Make better data-driven decisions: Automation frees up finance professionals to analyze data and identify trends, providing valuable insights that inform strategic decision-making.


Investing in purposeful technology is actually sustainable

Manual processes cannot keep pace with the demands of larger organizations, leading to bottlenecks and inefficiencies.

Automation provides a scalable solution to these challenges. Automated systems can handle increasing volumes of data and transactions efficiently, enabling businesses to grow without compromising the accuracy and timeliness of their financial close process. In fact, Automation has revolutionized the financial close process for top performers, enabling them to achieve remarkable improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and control.  Organizations that embrace automation will be well-equipped to face and ride the complexities of  business and achieve their strategic objectives.

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