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1 in 4 finance execs lack confidence in company data


Too much manual processing leaves businesses without the ability to monitor cash flow and vulnerable to external threats, survey finds.

By Philip King 11 minute read

One in four CFOs believe their company data is flawed while more than 80 per cent fret about an impending global financial crisis, according to research by fintech company BlackLine.

The global survey of accounting and finance professionals found they had “stubbornly low” confidence in their ability to monitor cash flow and distrusted data subject to manual processing.

“When asked what would help their company respond to business disruption, Australian CFOs said one of the most important factors would be the ability to access and analyse financial data in real time,” BlackLine said. 


“However, 22 per cent admitted they do not completely trust their own data. Levels of trust are even lower for those closer to the numbers, with just 43 per cent of Australia’s senior finance and accounting professionals indicating they do not fully trust the financial data they are working with.”

“Stunningly, all respondents confirmed they don’t have complete confidence in the visibility their organisation has over its cash flow.”

BlackLine said this trust gap was hampering the ability of businesses to respond to market fluctuations with more than half concerned they were making decisions based on inaccurate or out-of-date information.

CEO Owen Ryan said reliable company data was critical for effective decision-making, especially when dealing with unpredictable events.

“We have been monitoring trust and confidence in financial data over the last five years and while trust levels have started to improve, the bottom line is that trust is still not nearly as strong as it should be, making it difficult for leaders to make fast, effective, data-driven decisions.”

Almost three-quarters said the “overwhelming volume” of manual day-to-day work left little time for planning and left the business vulnerable to errors.

“Businesses have invested in technology solutions in recent years, including emerging forms of AI, but it’s clear that too many are still reliant on manual processes for a significant portion of finance and accounting work,” Mr Ryan said.

This was despite 84 per cent of Australian respondents admitting they were concerned about another global financial crisis while fewer than four in 10 were ready with a strategy to cope. Similar numbers were concerned about a cyber security crisis or technology disruption and again lacked preparedness to respond. Overwhelmingly, respondents said AI and cloud computing would be essential for improving business resiliency in the face of future disruption.

The online survey quizzed more than 1,300 finance and accounting professionals in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia, and Singapore.  

Philip King

Philip King


Philip King is editor of Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Philip joined the titles in March 2022 and brings extensive experience from a variety of roles at The Australian national broadsheet daily, most recently as motoring editor. His background also takes in spells on diverse consumer and trade magazines.

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