One in three professional accountants say they are unsure of the accuracy of their numbers
Accounting operational excellence remains a challenge for many UK businesses, new report finds
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LONDON, April 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — According to the UK Accounting State of Play Report from FloQast, a provider of accounting workflow automation software.
The findings, drawn from 500 UK finance managers and controllers, explore the current state of affairs in the industry, including how close they feel to achieving operational excellence – characterized by the shift from accounting from calculators to operational leaders, driving performance and business strategy. The data sheds light on the obstacles that disrupt processes and prevent teams from doing their jobs – and the impact on job function, stress levels and staff retention.
Alarmingly, a third of professionals (33%) are either unsure or unsure of the accuracy of their month-end figures*, while 40% admit they fail to reach accounting operational excellence.** These failures lead to increased stress levels and as a result, 87% of respondents say they have lost accounting staff due to burnout.
“This report shows that we are heading towards a crescendo of challenges and that we need to rethink how the finance function works if we want to see greater accounting operational efficiency,” said Mike Whitmire, co-founder and CEO of FloQast, CPA inactive. . “Failures related to accuracy and staff burnout are of particular concern. Better collaboration, transparency and speed of processes with improved automation are needed now. It is only with these improved systems that the accounting and finance function can be structured into the operational analysis of the business itself – an approach that is increasingly essential in organizations in all sectors.”
Respondents cite increasing demands around tight deadlines (36%), legacy applications and technologies (35%) and complex compliance and regulatory tasks (32%) as the top three barriers to achieving accounting operational excellence***.
The pandemic has also increased the pressure on accountants and finance professionals. Ninety-nine percent say their role has changed, with the main causes being greater involvement in technology decisions (46%) and growing demand from the leadership team to provide business insights strategic (44%).
The good news is that 75% of them would like to be responsible for at least the same strategic tasks, if not more, in the next 2-3 years. But, if teams want to have time for these diverse roles, they need robust and efficient processes to deliver reliable, accurate numbers on which to base their strategies – something many struggle to achieve.
Due to these changes, pressures and challenges, stress is a major impediment to the pursuit of accounting excellence and strategic value – and a debilitating burden on staff. Although 72% of respondents are willing to cite at least some level of job satisfaction, the reality of job retention figures tells a disturbing story. Nearly half (46%) of respondents who had lost finance staff to burnout cited month-end close stress as the specific cause of their departure. And teams that are mostly or entirely away from home are the most stressed (75%) during the month-end period, suggesting that some teams are still using outdated systems, hindering collaboration and accuracy. .
Adam Zoucha, FloQast MD EMEA, Inactive CPA, FloQast said, “With accounting and finance talent so hard to find, it is imperative that we do everything we can to retain our current staff by making it easier for them. Modern technology is essential for this, enabling improved workflows by automating tedious, complex or repetitive processes will improve accuracy. Similarly, improved automation can support remote teams by providing better collaboration and information sharing.
A mix of internal and external pressures combine to challenge today’s accounting and finance professionals and pose obstacles. As the pressure and complexity of the role increases, accounting fundamentals such as meeting deadlines, transparency and accuracy are compromised. The pandemic has added to this turmoil, with changing roles, managerial expectations and remote working increasing stress, particularly at the end of the month.
Although there is a desire to move accounting and finance into a more strategic role within the organization, only those with a solid foundation of operational excellence will be able to deliver reliable information. Better automation and processes can lead to greater accuracy, collaboration and alleviate pressures, which in turn can reduce stress levels and improve staff retention.
The data for the report was compiled by FloQast and Censuswide from a survey of 500 financial directors and controllers of UK organizations in December 2021. You can view the full report here.
* 33% who doubt the accuracy of their month-end figures say they are uncertain (17%), somewhat uncertain (11%) and very uncertain (5%) of their validity.
** 40% not achieving accounting operational excellence is an average of respondents who did not select “very good” or “good” in the 5 areas listed (full transparency, deadlines, trust in centralized documentation, collaboration team building and automation).
*** Respondents say they are ‘very bad’, ‘bad’ or ‘neither good nor bad’ at delivering accounting operational excellence in these areas.
FloQast provides workflow automation software enabling organizations to operationalize accounting excellence. Trusted by over 1,500 accounting teams – including Twilio, Coinbase, Los Angeles Lakers, Zoom and Snowflake – FloQast was built by accountants, for accountants to improve the way accounting teams work. FloQast enables customers to streamline processes such as automated reconciliations, documentation requests, and other workflows that impact month-end close, financial reporting, and payroll, and is consistently ranked # 1 on all user review sites. Learn more at FloQast.com.
FloQast Director of Corporate Communications
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