A new survey commissioned by BlackLine, a cloud-based accounting software provider, has revealed that 41% of C-suite and finance and accounting professionals in Singapore were skeptical about the accuracy of their organisation’s financial data. The survey was conducted by Censuswide, a market research firm, and involved 1,300 respondents from eight countries, including 150 from Singapore.
The survey showed that all of the Singaporean executives and professionals surveyed admitted that they do not have complete confidence in their organisation’s visibility over its cash flow, while 45% of the senior finance and accounting professionals disclosed their distrust of the financial data they are working with. This lack of confidence in cash flow visibility might be affecting business operations with 56% of the respondents raising concerns about the extent to which business decisions are made using inaccurate or out-of-date information.
The survey also revealed that 41% of the Singaporean respondents agreed that their organisation’s finance team is under more pressure than ever to close the books faster and more accurately, while 40% said that their organisation’s finance team is struggling to cope with the increased volume and complexity of data. These challenges are partly due to the manual processes and human error that are still prevalent in the finance function, as 39% of the respondents admitted that their organisation still relies on spreadsheets for financial data management.
The Implications of the Survey
The survey findings indicate that Singaporean business leaders are facing a trust gap in their financial data, which can have serious consequences for their business performance and growth. According to Terry Smagh, senior vice president of BlackLine Asia Pacific, “Trusting the data organisations work with is critical for effective decision-making, not only for the office of the CFO but for the entire business ecosystem. The implications of not having timely, verified, and accurate financial information can be detrimental to any organisation’s bottom line, as well as its reputation.”
The survey also suggests that Singaporean business leaders need to embrace digital transformation and automation in their finance function, to improve the quality and efficiency of their financial data management. According to Smagh, “By automating the repetitive, tedious, and manual work that finance teams do, organisations can free up their finance professionals to focus on value-added activities, such as analysis, forecasting, and strategy. This will not only enhance their confidence and trust in their financial data, but also enable them to deliver faster and more accurate insights to the business.”
The Recommendations of the Survey
The survey offers some recommendations for Singaporean business leaders to overcome their skepticism and achieve better financial data accuracy, such as:
- Adopting a continuous accounting approach: This is a method that distributes the accounting workload evenly over the accounting period, rather than concentrating it at the end of the month or quarter. This can help to reduce errors, delays, and bottlenecks, and to provide real-time and reliable financial data.
- Implementing a cloud-based accounting platform: This is a tool that can automate and streamline the financial data management processes, such as data collection, reconciliation, reporting, and analysis. This can help to eliminate manual work, human error, and spreadsheet dependency, and to enhance data security, scalability, and accessibility.
- Investing in data skills and training: This is a strategy that can equip the finance professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to handle and interpret the financial data effectively. This can help to improve their data literacy, analytical ability, and business acumen, and to foster a data-driven culture in the organisation.
By following these recommendations, Singaporean business leaders can close the trust gap in their financial data, and leverage it for better decision-making and business outcomes.