The last mile of finance refers to all the steps a publicly traded company must take to close its books each quarter, including financial statement preparation, regulatory reporting, and investor report production. Accuracy during this time period is key — if you drop the baton, the ramifications can be significant.
For many organizations, the last mile of finance remains one of the last financial activities to be automated. Thanks to new technology, companies can improve upon the laborious, spreadsheet-based process by choosing from several different automated last mile applications.
If you haven’t already automated the last mile of finance, here are four reasons why you should:
- Improve productivity and performance. American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC) looked at the performance of 148 organizations with revenue greater than $1 billion. Results showed that bottom performers spent five times more time on the last mile of finance than the top performers. Automation will save you plenty of time and money during close processes, so you can focus on more important objectives.
- Reduce errors and improve efficiency. Manually reviewing emails and spreadsheets is time consuming and labor intensive. A standardized, automated process reduces the likelihood of mistakes. The quality and accuracy of reports and disclosures improve as a result, mitigating regulatory risk.
- Gain timely insight on your company’s performance. Automation gives you the tools to increase the accuracy of your performance reporting. With this information in hand, you can make decisions that will support your organizational goals.
- Integrate business planning. Accurately close your books while at the same time gathering important forecasting information will help determine how the pay structure of the sales staff is impacting profitability. Use the knowledge gained through automation to more efficiently and effectively measure compensation costs and develop your strategic plan.
If you want to move the finish line of the last mile of finance a little closer, consider automating the process. The end result will be more accurate and you’ll have more time for other things, such as training for a real marathon.
To learn more about improving the alignment between finance and your sales team, see “Strategic Sales Compensation Reports for Enterprise Finance.”
—Erik Charles is Xactly’s Principal Incentives Strategist.
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