From XU Magazine, 
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Why digital accounting tools are a necessity for today’s finance teams

Digital transformation is no longer a choice for finance teams. It’s a necessity.

This is a result of everyone coming together and doing their part during the pandemic by working from home. This change of operations calls for the need of businesses to find more flexible and remote-friendly ways to manage their financial functions.

Failure to adapt to this change can pose an uncertain future, as outdated processes and inefficient systems stifle the ability of a business to stay competitive. Meeting the challenge ahead requires a fundamental shift away from some of the office-based systems and manual processes that we have traditionally used to control costs.

Here’s why digital transformation is essential for a post-lockdown accounting:

Remote working is here to stay

A predicted result of the pandemic is a long-term shift towards remote and flexible ways of working. In effect, the global health crisis has rapidly accelerated a digital transformation that was already underway thanks to rapid advancements in technology.

A majority of finance teams will consist of a hybrid mix of office-based employees and remote workers. In order to make this transformation successful, employees must be given more control over when and how they work.

Any effective operation must allow finance professionals to operate from wherever they have an online connection. This means finding digital solutions that remove the reliance on paper handling or office-based systems, which have become outdated.

The accessibility of financial data in real-time

Before the lockdown, a central office provided a physical hub where all financial information was sent to be processed and stored. Now, accessing information is a logistical headache if reports have to be posted or emailed between team members, creating inevitable errors and duplication.

Digital management tools provide a virtual ‘hub’ where all of the data is instantly accessible and automatically stored. It’s an approach that can handle any kind of company structure, no matter the scale or complexity.

The ability to easily share financial information across different systems, tools, and locations allows for a streamlined and efficient financial process which can be virtually managed.

The use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) import/export features allows each aspect of a finance function to ‘talk’ to each other. This can include integration with bank accounts, allowing spending information to be automatically updated.

An integration like this simply cannot be handled by a manual process and requires a digital approach. The administrative burden is eased and gives working teams more flexibility than ever.

Eliminating risks posed by compliance breaches

Increased risks of compliance breaches can be removed altogether once digital accounting tools are implemented. Inefficient monitoring, manual processes, and poor communications will be eliminated altogether.

Accounting systems are essential for maintaining compliance across a remote workforce. The move to real-time data allows policy checks to be automated with alerts triggered whenever problems are identified.

Improved data management also improves the quality and speed of reporting tasks, reducing the risks posed by submitting inaccurate or incomplete financial information to external authorities

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