Continuous accounting speeds finance function: research

continuous accounting

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Coincident with new financial consolidation functionality in SAP S/4HANA, SAP has released results of a new study, authored by Ventana Research and sponsored by SAP, that demonstrates how continuous accounting can transform the function of finance organisations to make faster and more informed business decisions.

Using the SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation application, organisations will be able to run a financial consolidation directly on transactional data in SAP S/4HANA, gaining three important business benefits:

  • Distributing departmental workloads continuously across accounting periods, avoiding time-consuming period-ends
  • Improving efficiency and data integrity by supporting a soft close, eliminating the time lost waiting to identify and correct issues at period-end
  • Overcoming outdated “we’ve always done it this way” processes

Continuous accounting enables organisations to move from batch mode to live accounting processes, providing important operational information more in keeping with today’s speed of business.

According to the study results, “The continuous accounting approach integrates people, processes, information and technology to achieve a transformation of the finance function and its corporate role.”

Demonstrating how technology can serve as a catalyst for change, SAP’s new functionality enables organisations to use one financial management system for planning, financial consolidation and transactions right inside SAP S/4HANA.

There has never been a more important time to focus on data integrity, with 62 per cent of companies reporting that they have very significant or somewhat significant issues with the quality and consistency of data when preparing their financial reports.

The study reveals that 55 per cent of companies take more than six business days to close their quarterly books, compared to the generally accepted benchmark of one business week. At the same time, 67 per cent of organisations that review their process monthly said they were able to accelerate their close.

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