Halfway through 2020, and there’s hope that things might be on a road to normalcy. But understandably, roles have changed, jobs have become more stressful, and the road back isn’t clear. However, accountants and finance leaders are starting to see more value in technology than they ever have.

New Technology, More Efficiency, and Less Stress: Accountants Embracing Technology

According to a recent study from AvidXchange, the COVID-19 outbreak has presented a new way of thinking at many businesses, has caused accountants to rethink their technology stack, and has provided forward-thinking finance staff a bit more confidence in the future.

In fact, as reported by Accounting Today, nine out of every ten accountants are seeing the value of new and emerging technology at their firms, and three out of every four have implemented at least one new solution since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The sheer workload prompted by the pandemic is overwhelming,” AvidXchange CFO Joel Wilhite said. “People are overcompensating for disruption, and the survey results proved this out. Accountants are working over and above their function, and the accounting and finance world is being stressed further. This may have to do with an absence of automation, but there could be other factors too.”

But despite the fact that many are working a few more hours or cancelling vacations, the combination of easy implementations, automation, and rapid deployment has actually resulted in lowered stress levels. The survey noted that many respondents felt that the technology wasn’t only beneficial, it actually reduced stress—nearly 80 percent reported that new technology is reducing stress levels.

What Are the Top Technologies Coming to the Accounting World Post-Pandemic?

When asked which technologies will impact the business finance ecosystem the most during the rest of 2020, respondents felt that it comes down to three main drivers: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Automation, and Real-Time Payments.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

It’s well-known that artificial intelligence is set to benefit the accounting world, but it appears that uptake is accelerating and accounting leaders are reaping the rewards—58.6 percent of respondents feel that AI/ML will have a significant impact on business during the rest of this year.

AI has been in the spotlight in recent years, as the technology has matured enough to be demonstrably useful to accounting functions such as audit, and any other area that requires data analysis. 

Looking to learn more? Check out our whitepaper on the value of AI for controllers and how to make it work for your company here.

Automation

One of the most obvious goals (and benefits) in modern technology decisions is that of automation. As mentioned above, accountants are working more hours, but automation can put you in a position to succeed. Not only will it save you time in the long run, it will give you more time to focus on activities that deliver more value. Learn more about the power of automation in Four Keys to Modern Accounting.

Real-Time Payments

When cash is tight, you need to know where your money is. Mailing a check means you have to wait for days, and even ACH might be a bit slower than you’d like. A real-time payments initiative gives you better visibility, more control, and better understanding, while helping you take advantage of discounts (or avoiding late fees).

Learn more about the benefits of speeding up your payments and facilitating your spend management in our article titled The Pandemic Stress test—Were Your Spend Management Processes ready?

Moving Forward: Join the Controllers Council for all the Latest

As 2020 comes to a close, controllers and accounting professionals have a lot of work ahead. Controllers Council™ is a national community and platform of Controllers, accounting and finance professionals focused on accounting best practices, information, resources, recognition and networking.

We’re based on the premise that the Controller and related titles are critical to organizations of all types and sizes, yet get little recognition in comparison to other C-Suite peers. Ready to learn more? Join us today!

Want to learn even more? We recently hosted a webinar on the updated processes and practices embraced by controllers. Titled Accounting Controllers Roundtable – Webcast, this webinar shared insight into how each has managed during this pandemic, how roles and responsibilities have changed, and what are new priorities for Controllers now and in the near future. Watch it on demand now.

How Automation Can Solve Your Reconciliation ChallengesWebinar Tuesday, October 19

According to The Hackett Group, accountants and financial personnel spend 65% of their time on manual, low-value processes. These processes include reconciliations, meaning accountants are likely to be focusing the bulk of their time on repetitive tasks as they complete the period-end close. The challenges that come from spreadsheets and other manual methods of reconciliations don’t have to impact your entire organization; financial automation solutions can pave the way for many benefits and opportunities to maximize your accountants’ time and effort.