The case for including your accountant in your decision-making

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The future of finance is here, but the finance teams of many middle-market companies are yet to reap the full benefits. Maybe it’s because they haven’t asked their accounting firms to step in.

New research from and Wakefield’s survey of 500 CFOs, VPs of finance and controllers from small and medium-sized businesses show areas of opportunity where accountants can support finance executives. The main takeaway? Almost all (96%) finance leaders are concerned that their business is not agile enough to react to new changes.

Accountants, with their unique visibility into internal improvement and growth opportunities coupled with broader industry insights, have a valuable seat at the table as clients try to plan for the future in the volatile market. current.

Many finance executives believe the coming year will continue to be unpredictable, with finance leaders expecting a range of issues including cash management issues, talent retention and technology difficulties. Using the latest technology and their own deep industry expertise, accounting firms can help their clients manage complex issues including staffing, credit management and industry forecasting to secure the financial future. of their businesses.

The executives broke down their main challenges and areas requiring accountants’ perspective into the following areas.

Better manage cash, credit and expenses

Fluctuating market conditions have created challenges for middle market financial executives as they plan for an uncertain future. As companies look to cut costs and save money, data shows nearly 9 in 10 finance leaders will prioritize cost-cutting efforts this year. Additionally, 71% of finance executives say access to credit is very or extremely important when looking for new ways to grow their business.

Accounting firms have important information to support this growth, because increased visibility into cash flow is the first step for finance managers looking to proactively manage expenses. A financial operations solution empowers accountants and their clients by providing greater visibility and proactive controls to manage business costs and expenses more effectively.

Enable efficiency and retain talent

Amid the great talent shake-up, mid-market companies are increasingly challenged as they seek to build and retain effective teams. According to survey results, 35% say hiring costs and frequent turnover are their top concerns. Retaining and optimizing teams is also a concern for finance executives, with the average finance executive losing 1.5 working days (11 hours per week) to inefficiency, which equates to nearly six days of work every month.

Automation is a key solution for finance executives and accountants. A technology solution powered by automation helps accountants and other finance executives better manage their most important (and limited) resources — talent and time — by reducing manual labor. In fact, 59% of finance executives will turn to automation or outsourcing to save staff time and improve efficiency. This helps increase job satisfaction by allowing team members to focus on more meaningful work and learn new skills, such as mastering technology and automating workflows.

Additionally, recent college graduates seek out companies that use the latest technology tools to reduce manual labor so they can focus on the more interesting aspects of the job. The next generation of talent wants to work for innovative companies, not old-school companies using manual workarounds.

Increase agility and forecasting capabilities

Almost all finance leaders (96%) said they feared their companies weren’t agile enough to react to new changes. Additionally, 35% say forecasting in the face of continued uncertainty is a major concern due to the difficulty in establishing data. This uncertainty provides an opening for accounting firms to advise finance executives on opportunities for growth and change within their businesses.

Neither accounting firms nor their clients can control macroeconomic challenges such as inflation and supply chain issues that make forecasting difficult. But with better insights into cash flow and expenses, finance managers box stretch debts and redeem receivables to make the most of what they can control.

Additionally, accountants should lean towards becoming experts in the technologies they choose to use through continuing education programs and certifications. This will enable them to help finance leaders to the best of their ability to develop strong change management plans and implementation strategies. This is a key area where accountants’ knowledge of business operations and broader industry insights can be leveraged to make their clients more agile.

Use the right technology to solve difficult problems

Finance leaders are clear that point solutions aren’t meeting their needs, with nearly 9 in 10 saying technology is a pain point in their organization. Why? More than a third of our survey respondents said their different tools and solutions don’t work with each other.

This gives accountants the opportunity to work closely with their clients and showcase their industry-specific expertise to develop a seamless technology stack equipped to meet specific client needs. When implemented correctly, tech stacks can ease the pain points and reduce the headaches of manual processes by using the power of automation to streamline work and alleviate bottlenecks along the way. It also makes it easier for finance managers to make tough decisions through the use of clear, actionable data. iis an important part of many technology stacks, acting as a one-stop-shop for many of a company’s financial operations by automating financial operations while improving finance managers’ visibility into cash flow management.

Enable accountants to provide the best advice possible

As finance leaders plan for an uncertain future, technology can be a silver bullet. But the challenges of connecting and integrating this information into business plans may prove too much for finance managers to handle on their own.

Accountants are well positioned to help clients manage their challenges with the knowledge and efficiency provided by an integrated technology stack. Integrating the best technologies to alleviate pain points is a win for all parties; accountants will have a better understanding of their clients’ businesses, and clients will be able to unleash their full potential.

Kevin Au is Vice President of Product Management at