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Posted 27th March 2024

A 2024 Guide to Improving Your Automated Financial Reports

Maintaining regular and accurate financial reports is essential for every business. They can help you monitor expenditure, income, and your overall financial performance. Unfortunately, keeping regular records can also take up valuable time. You might find that your employees are bogged down with admin tasks rather than working on more valuable activities.

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a 2024 guide to improving your automated financial reports.

A 2024 Guide to Improving Your Automated Financial Reports
Automated Financial Reports

Maintaining regular and accurate financial reports is essential for every business. They can help you monitor expenditure, income, and your overall financial performance. Unfortunately, keeping regular records can also take up valuable time. You might find that your employees are bogged down with admin tasks rather than working on more valuable activities.  

But what’s the solution? Automated financial reports cut out the legwork so that you can focus on your main goal: growing your business. Wondering how you can implement automation in your organization? We’ll explore that and more in this article. 

What are automated financial reports? 

Automated financial reports are created and organised automatically thanks to automation software. These tools involve little to no human interventions. Once programmed, they’ll carry out manual processes in the same way as a human staff member. 

Traditionally, staff members must deal with multiple programs and paper trails to successfully monitor finances. Automated financial reporting can gather data from these sources in a matter of seconds. This creates more streamlined and efficient internal processes. 

Below are just a few tasks that automation software can help with:

  • Adding new entries within databases. 
  • Setting up regular invoices. 
  • Triggering alerts when payments haven’t been made or received. 
  • Creating financial reports. 

Lots of businesses are already successfully utilizing automation and reaping the rewards. From application inventory management to onboarding, automation is transforming almost every aspect of the workplace. Automated financial reports are just another example of the software being used effectively.

For proof of the popularity of automation solutions, you only need to look at the research. A recent survey by Workato found that over 50% of companies have automation in four or more departments.

What are the benefits of automated financial reports? 

There’s no denying that automated financial reporting is popular, but why are so many companies investing in the software? We’ve explored a few of the top benefits below. 

Fewer errors 

Humans make mistakes. Even the most experienced finance professionals will mess up occasionally. When it comes to repetitive manual tasks, the risk of a mistake occurring is heightened significantly. Most employees find these tasks to be dull, and there’s a risk that their minds will wander and mistakes will be made. 

Human error in financial reports can have damaging consequences. Without a complete picture of company finances, you might make unwise spending choices. Or, you might fail to give correct information for legal purposes, such as tax management. 

As long as the software is programmed correctly, it won’t make mistakes. Automated financial reporting ensures that as long as you have quality data your reports will be correct.  

Improved employee retention

We’re currently in the midst of a period called ‘The Great Resignation’. Although the numbers have reduced slightly in recent years, 3.392 million Americans quit their jobs in December 2023. To buck the trend, employers need to get staff feeling enthusiastic about their jobs again. 

As mentioned, most employees don’t enjoy manual tasks. Instead, they’re spending their time adding new entries to an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet. Rather than seeing a clear path forward, they feel stuck in what they see as a dead-end job. They could be proving their worth and working towards a promotion. 

Automation offers an alternative, handling less enjoyable tasks, and allowing employees to focus on other activities. Feeling more content in their role, staff are less likely to seek employment elsewhere. 

Faster approvals 

Many different types of financial reports need approval. Whether it’s an end-of-year account or budget allocation, reports must be verified as accurate and reflective of an organization. This approval can involve a long process. Different members of staff may need to verify aspects of a report. 

Let’s imagine that you are curating a report on the prices of product parts to find the best US wholesalers to order from. At the end of your report, you recommend a list of wholesalers with the best prices. This report needs approval from the finance department to ensure that your figures are correct, and the sales team needs to review your recommendations. 

During this process, bottlenecks can occur. A staff member might forget to pass a report along to another member of the chain. Even more problematic, the wrong version of a document could be sent. 

Automated financial reports handle this process for you, ensuring that up-to-date documents are passed along the approval chain. Furthermore, payment integration within automated systems can facilitate seamless transactions and financial operations, reducing delays in processing payments and improving overall efficiency.

For businesses looking to expand into new ventures such as ecommerce, automated financial reports offer invaluable assistance in tracking expenses, managing inventory, and analyzing sales data efficiently. With the rise of online retail, the need for accurate financial insights becomes even more critical, making automated reporting systems an essential tool for navigating the complexities of digital commerce.

Implementing automated financial reports 

There are many reasons why you should choose an automated solution. But once you’ve found the best tool for you, you’ll need to implement it correctly. Any mistakes at this stage could prevent you from getting the accurate reports that you need. With that in mind, why not try the following steps when implementing your solution?

Outline the task at hand 

Before beginning any implementation, ask yourself ‘Why do I need automation?’. To answer this you can create a diagram of all the financial reporting processes in your company. Next to each process, carry out some evaluation. Is a certain procedure running as efficiently as it could be? How would automation fix an issue? If you already have a strong knowledge of your enterprise architecture EA, this process will be much easier. 

To get the best understanding of the task at hand, involve your entire team. Each member will have unique perspectives and might pick up on errors that you didn’t spot. 

Create a workflow 

Now that you know the scope of your automation, it’s time to build a workflow. This should encompass all the tasks needed to implement your automated financial reports. Below are some of the information you should build into your workflow. 

  • Financial processes that will be optimized to create more effective automation. 
  • Technical information relating to individual tasks. 
  • Accounting software and other tools that must be integrated with your automated solution. 
  • QA testing automated processes to minimize the risk of error. 

Update your teams 

Automation can be a learning curve, especially for long-term staff members who may be used to certain procedures. People are wary of change and employees may be reluctant to embrace a new approach. Let finance teams know well in advance about your new automated systems. Emphasize how they will improve their day-to-day work lives.   

Training is an important part of this process. The more help you can give teams, the easier they’ll find the transition to automation. It’s useful to create a library of learning materials that employees can access when they need them.

Make data accessible

It’s no use compiling lots of confusing statistics in your automated reports. This won’t give employees the insights they need to make informed decisions, and certainly won’t give a useful indication of financial performance. Your reports need to be presented logically and coherently.

The perfect solution should do much of this automatically. Look for a tool with key features such as financial analytics and insights. Additionally, ensure that you provide plenty of visualizations of data to ensure visual learners get the best understanding of financial reports. 

The future lies in automation 

Financial reports are essential for every business. And as your organization grows, your reporting needs become more and more complex. Automation is the key to stopping admin from becoming a hurdle for your organization.

As we’ve explored, there are many benefits to automated financial reports. If you follow our implementation tips you’ll reap rewards such as more accurate reports, faster approval processes, and much more. 

So, why not step into the future and embrace automation today?

Categories: Finance, News

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