For public accountants, month-end is a stressful time, characterized by long hours of overtime and punctuated by last-minute scrambles for missing information.
As a regular financial health check, the month-end close process is essential to businesses. It’s through this process that businesses reconcile, aggregate, and report on their financial information. However, 87% of accounting professionals say they work overtime during this process, and the resulting stress has been directly tied to employee turnover in one-quarter of surveyed organizations.
The pressure to complete the close faster is also mounting. For many public accounting firms, the drive to close quickly each month is not necessarily efficiency, but to create a competitive edge by billing clients for fewer hours. To appease their clients, many firms will try to keep billable hours relatively consistent month-to-month, regardless of the actual amount of hours worked. The unbilled hours, typically called write-downs, affect a firm’s realization rate, which measures the percentage of hours billed to the client versus the billable hours actually worked. The lower the realization percentage, the more work is being written-down by the firm.
Write-downs are common practice at a most public accounting firms, but that unbilled time adds up and, ultimately, undervalues the work a firm produces for its clients. Worse yet, write-downs are really only a short-term, bandaid solution to a larger problem. In most cases, the processes that accountants are using to complete the month-end process are simply inefficient, especially when it comes to accounts payable. Instead, by automating key components of the month-end process for accounts payable, public accountants can save time, improve their realization rates, and redirect their energies to higher value tasks every month.
In our new whitepaper, we examine five specific strategies to automate the accounts payable process at public accounting firms. Download your copy of this free whitepaper now.