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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Brie

Enhance The Value Of Your Controller By Automating 3 Financial Tasks

In recent years the responsibilities of a financial controller have changed significantly. CFOs and CEOs have grown to rely on controllers to provide data and analysis that can help them make better decisions. Controllers are no longer primarily concerned with ensuring that financial statements are correct. They're being called on more and more to forecast financial results and keep track of financial operations.

To focus on the goal of providing essential information to CFOs and CEOs, controllers have been using software to automate their accounting and payroll procedures in order to shift their time and emphasis away from financial statement creation and toward financial statement analysis. This allows them to obtain a better overall grasp of the company's operations, find areas where expenses may be cut and profits can be enhanced, and spot other business opportunities. To meet the increase in responsibilities controllers now have, they are seeking ways to cut down on the time they spend on manual tasks.

Here are three essential tasks that can be completed with the help of automation software, allowing your controller to focus on more strategic financial activities.

Accounts Payable/ Accounts Receivable

With controllers being tasked with monitoring the financial health of your business, it can overburden them. Inevitably, certain activities could fall by the wayside. For example, invoicing has traditionally been a time-consuming process from start to finish, requiring entire AR/AP departments to handle high numbers of transactions. Controllers are under pressure to be even more efficient as they are responsible for accurate records while also influencing business strategy.

This can be made easier by automating your accounts payable and receivable (AP/AR). Putting hundreds of thousands of these tasks in the hands of automated software can help strengthen vendor relationships and possibly save your business money with vendors that offer early payment discounts. Simultaneously, it provides customers with a better invoicing experience, which may result in future sales.

Traditionally, AP departments have been in charge of vendor payment administration, which has necessitated numerous levels of examination. When it comes to regions where deceit could occur, invoice payment has long been a critical risk area for controllers. By automating the AP process, the department may focus on dual reviews rather than payments, resulting in a tighter internal control environment.

By validating the information on the invoice and payment amounts, an automated system can prevent multiple payments and erroneous vendor information. And, rather than manually entering hundreds of invoices, the information on each can be automatically translated into your ERP, freeing up your controller to focus on higher-level duties that add value to your company.

On the other hand, there are numerous aspects and moving components to your AR department that must be completed within a particular length of time and usually require a significant amount of documentation. The multitude of tasks can include document creation, extracting data, acquiring sign-offs and signatures, and having your team communicate with customers and possibly other stakeholders.

Controllers are evaluating how efficient their billing departments are more than ever before, with AR turning over a crucial business KPI. The AR process has a tendency to become clogged due to the number of processes involved, preventing your organization from obtaining payment swiftly. Data for invoices may be retrieved from excel spreadsheets or your CRM/ERP to build an accurate invoice that can be distributed to clients in a timely manner by automating AR. And if there is any lag in approval, your system will automatically send out reminders.

By automating AR, you can improve your customers' experience. The more easily and swiftly you can send out invoices with precise information, the more your clients will trust you and appreciate the level of service you provide.

Account Reconciliation

Depending on the nature of your firm, your controller may be required to reconcile accounts on a daily basis. As your company grows, the number of accounts that need to be reconciled on a regular basis increases. Your controller can use financial automation to establish a scalable method for reconciling each of these accounts quickly.

Cash reconciliations have always been done outside of the accounting system. This is usually accomplished by exporting data from a bank and comparing it to the information stored in the system. If the two don't agree, hours can be wasted figuring out which entries didn't make it into the system or weren't supposed to be there in the first place.

Other important areas of reconciliation include AR/AP, which are commonly linked to the PnL. Any astute controller will be actively monitoring these accounts to better understand days in receivables and whether their vendor conditions are favorable to their company's cash flow requirements. In some circumstances, reconciling these accounts can take days, especially if there are a lot of transactions. Automation can alleviate this strain and allow you to devote more time to analysis.

A good internal control environment requires the management of cash, revenue, and spending accounts. By changing the focus from human input to review, monitoring, and analysis, automating the reconciliation process in conjunction with automation in other crucial areas like AR/AP can considerably strengthen the control environment. This shift is a significant advantage of automation.

Gathering Data For Insight and Analytics

Financial controllers rely on dashboards to collect data and track key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to assess the company's current financial health and forecast its future possibilities.

This is a type of automation that brings together a variety of data and services on a single page so that controllers may spot any figures that are out of sync at the operational or management levels of a business.

Organizations can also use these tools to interface with Salesforce, Quickbooks, and Google Analytics. Such dashboards import business KPIs from existing data that highlights account status, expenses, burn, MRR, cash, departmental performance, and human resource-related issues.

The use of such automated technologies is referred to as "finance digital transformation," and it aids controllers in producing financial reports based on accumulated data, which can make accurate forecasts and plans that integrate operational and financial data.

In the past, many controllers and employees in their department wasted far too much time collecting hundreds of spreadsheets and passing them around via email. Agility is a benefit of modern, automated data collecting and distribution. Budgets and forecasts may be prepared immediately when data is received promptly, allowing your financial team to focus on activities such as reviewing performance data, modeling what-if scenarios, and uncovering new business prospects.

The cloud is one of the most powerful automation tools available to businesses today for data access. Your team can pull information from any laptop, mobile device, or desktop using cloud planning platforms and work closely with others to update and share information in real-time.

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