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Companies are upping their investment in automation during pandemic

(Image credit: Image Credit: MNBB Studio / Shutterstock)

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed various weaknesses in finance and accounting (F&A) departments in terms of policy, process and technology. In order to close these gaps and better position themselves for business continuity, organizations are increasingly turning towards automation.

This is according to a new report from BlackLine, which states that more than a third (36 percent) of businesses were forced to invest into automation tech due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, over a quarter (27 percent) think their company will better handle potential future uncertainty.

The problem lies in the fact that businesses don't really trust the accuracy of their financial data, mostly because they rely on “clunky” spreadsheets and outdated processes. That leaves F&A teams in the dark for most of the month, which a greater number of businesses felt was a problem last year than in 2018.

There are various ways businesses can benefit from automation, but respondents singled out a few in particular, including retaining a competitive edge, increasing the accuracy and reliability of financial data, reducing costs, improving financial planning, analysis, budgeting and forecasting, as well as improving financial reporting.

They also claim using automation can help predict customer behavior and analyze payment patterns so they can more accurately forecast cash flow.