The manufacturing industry runs 24/7 with constantly changing customer demands, making real-time financial information essential for manufacturers, writes Todd Hunt, vice president and general manager Asia Pacific, BlackLine.
New tools from robotics to nanotechnology are changing the way goods are produced, but so many accounting and finance teams are still doing things the old-fashioned way- with with spreadsheets.
This leaves teams struggling with manual accounting processes that create challenges around visibility, accuracy, and efficiency.
To keep up with customer demands, stakeholder expectations, and changing global regulations, today’s manufacturers need an accurate picture of their balance sheet.
Once relegated to the background of the manufacturing enterprise, accounting and finance now offer tremendous value to the front of the organisation.
Automating rote tasks and freeing teams for value-added work like analysis management, can put manufacturers in the enviable position of being the first to innovate, market, and identify and act on new growth opportunities.
Here are five benefits manufacturing companies experience when they empower their accounting and finance teams to effectively utilise process automation technology.
Automatically match all types of transactions
Complex intercompany relationships, multiple divisions, inventory, and global supply chains make matching large volumes of data a difficult, time-consuming and error-prone process.
With an automated transaction matching process, manufacturers can stop manually “ticking and tying” thousands of transactions. Instead, the technology matches all transaction types, which can be millions per minute, while making unmatched transactions available to create reconciling items, exception cases, and correcting journal entries.
As a result, manufacturers save hundreds of hours on bank reconciliations, credit card matching, intercompany transactions and invoice-to-PO matching.
Confirm key account balances every day
Automating the reconciliations process enables continual validation of account balances and transactional details, and verifies balances across different production facilities, business units, and currencies.
It standardises routine processes while embedding control and auditability. Companies can ensure the accuracy of critical accounts throughout an accounting period, and refocus their accountants on exception handling and discrepancy investigation, instead of tedious (and potentially error-prone) data entry.
Centralise and automate end-to-end journals management
Manually processing journal entries can take hundreds of hours every month, as spreadsheets are passed around for approval and review before eventual posting.
Manufacturing companies can automate the creation, approval, and review of journals using dynamic data from many sources, including bank feeds and credit card statements. Teams can track and manage recurring entries thus providing even greater levels of visibility and control.
Standardise and streamline inventory reconciliations
Legacy account reconciliation processes are time-consuming and prone to errors.
Automating account reconciliations simplifies and standardises the end-to-end reconciliation process to ensure the accuracy, timeliness, and quality of your high-volume reconciliations while strengthening your internal control environment.
By leveraging configurable auto-certification rules, manufacturers can automate key account reconciliations without having to implement additional process changes.
Connect and integrate with existing systems
Implementing finance automation ensures data integrity without risk of conversion and entry errors and enables data imports from bank files, POS applications, and other systems. It can also save IT resources from the difficult, time-consuming process of performing costly, custom integrations and running ad hoc reports.
However, it is essential to select a solution that is built for connectivity and can integrate with your ERP system.
Modern automation technology is changing the nature of manufacturing, and it’s time for its accounting and finance teams to experience the same benefits of that technology.
The process automation tools that can enable real-time reporting and analysis and ensure an efficient and accurate close are finally here.
Now it’s up to manufacturing companies to empower their accounting and finance teams to fully utilise their benefits, thus creating competitive advantage for the entire organisation.
[Todd Hunt is vice president and general manager Asia Pacific, BlackLine]