3 Timesucking Financial Controller Tasks Every Business Should Automate

Timesucking Financial Controller Tasks

The role of a financial controller is to oversee day-to-day accounting functions and provide guidance on an organization’s broader financial strategy. He or she is charged with ensuring the accuracy of accounting records, planning budgets, forecasting cash flow, managing compliance, and analyzing financial data to facilitate the company’s growth. The controller works closely with multiple departments, including the CFO and the accounting team.

Automating some of these responsibilities will free up significant blocks of your financial controller’s time to focus on tasks that require very specifically human input or strategic review. Here are some of the top areas where automation can make a real impact.

Compliance and Tax Liability

From solopreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, every business must ensure compliance with relevant tax laws, accounting and reporting standards, and payment and data security measures. Violations or lack of compliance could result in fines and penalties worth millions of dollars.

Various digital products are available that can help controllers and their companies maintain compliance and calculate or pay tax liabilities. High-quality automation tools make compliance tasks less time consuming and reduce the likelihood of errors.

Cloud-based platforms such as BlackLine or AuditBoard can make compliance audits more efficient for controllers. Platforms like these offer customized audit planning, enhanced communication, and better visibility into potential compliance issues. Products like Avalara and TaxJar calculate and remit tax payments on the company’s behalf, slashing the time a controller must spend on such duties. Generally speaking, tax compliance software products integrate well with commonly used accounting software.

Budgeting and Cash Flow Forecasting

Predicting future cash flow and composing budget planning spreadsheets can be immensely time-consuming. Additionally, manually entering financial data from accounting software into a spreadsheet increases the risk of errors. Making a mistake in cash flow forecasting or budget planning can obviously become a costly problem when scaling a business.

Budgeting and forecasting cash flow for the year requires an analysis of previous revenue and spending alongside projected income and expenditures for the coming year, factoring in growth. And the process doesn’t end there; budgeting also involves the examination of budget versus actual spending.

Automation products dedicated to budget planning and forecasting cash flow can save dozens of hours for the finance team each month. Some accounting software offers simple budgeting features for the small business owner, while larger companies may opt for comprehensive budgeting software with more elaborate features, such as Planning Maestro or Jirav. These platforms integrate with accounting software to eliminate the need for manual data entry. For analyzing actual spending versus budgeted spending, tools like Mesh Payments can be used for spend control, real-time insight into company payments and expense management.

Data Analysis

Over time, the responsibilities of financial controllers have evolved to focus more on financial analysis for strategic planning and less on managing day-to-day operations. Controllers typically work directly with the CFO to develop growth strategies by analyzing financial data provided by various sources. To ensure smooth daily operations, the controller enlists the help of accounting and finance teams.

Many popular accounting and finance software products come with a standard dashboard, providing a real-time overview of the company’s financial data. Some software options, like those used for budgeting, offer customizable dashboards that summarize financial and non-financial information into visual representations. Automated data analysis via these platforms is up-to-date and presented in an easily digestible graphic layout.

Controllers use automation tools to analyze data faster, streamlining the ongoing business planning process. The finance team can enhance monthly reports with the addition of the visuals produced for these dashboards to allow for a less complicated and quicker absorption of financial reports.

Final Thoughts

The role of the financial controller has become more complex over time, moving from day-to-day oversight of accounting operations to broader business planning, data analysis, and strategizing. Introducing automation of specific financial control tasks will free up considerable amounts of time for your financial controller and optimize your finance team structure, allowing them to focus more on providing valuable insights that promote company success and growth.

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