Recessionary Concerns Turn Up Heat on UK Accounting, Finance Teams, FloQast Report Reveals

Six in ten (63%) UK accounting and finance professionals are “concerned over the accuracy of their company’s monthly financial statements,” according to new research published by FloQast, a provider of accounting workflow automation.

Accounting and finance teams are feeling “the pressure of the recessionary environment, with 87% reporting greater stress during the month-end Close process – this is markedly up from the 70% figure,” reported in FloQast’s same research program a year ago.

And, this leaves 69% of accounting and finance leaders “concerned that their team would suffer from burnout as a result.”

These findings are highlighted in The State of Play in UK Accounting, Transformation in Uncertain Times, the second instalment of FloQast’s research series “exploring the most pressing issues and challenges facing UK accounting teams.”

The report “collates responses from 500 finance directors and controllers to highlight the growing pressures facing British organisations as they navigate economic volatility.”

‘Work more’ mantra is contributing to burnout and acting as a barrier to accuracy

This level of economic disruption is “placing greater demands on accounting and finance leaders to deliver swift, accurate reporting to inform decision-making and maintain business performance.”

The fact that “a high percentage of accountants would choose to ‘work more’ when asked what they would do with a spare hour of time (32%) illustrates just how overwhelming their day-to-day workload has become.”

Recessionary environment, cash runway and staff retention top concerns

Adding to the pressure on finance teams is “the worry about the recessionary environment.”

When considering pressures impacting performance and capacity, cash flow is “the biggest concern (35%).”

This is brought into sharp focus “by the findings that one in three finance professionals reveal that their company has less than six months cash runway.”

Staff retention is also “a significant concern for performance and capacity, with loss of team members (35%) and maintaining team morale (34%) falling in the top three reasons.”

And, justifiably so, “with one in three respondents saying, both headcount (32%) and salaries (32%) will be frozen to manage operating expenses during the recessionary environment.”

Adam Zoucha, MD EMEA FloQast, says:

“Accounting teams are striving for operational excellence but falling short, with fiscal accuracy taking a hit. This uncertainty around the month-end Close puts organisations at undue risk whilst they are navigating economic uncertainty. And, given the limits on cash flow for some organisations, this could put them in dangerous territory.”

Technology seen as the primary lever to improve accuracy and morale

In the face of growing pressure, technology is “seen as a primary investment organizations can make to alleviate these pain points – cited by 43% – ranking significantly higher than investment in people (24%), process (16%) and culture (12%).”

Although accountants recognize “how technology can help them deliver operational excellence, almost half of organizations (47%) have failed to invest in new financial software in the past year.”

Accuracy, manual processes, and workload reduction are “the primary drivers for tech investment.”

With more than half of respondents concerned that insufficient or inaccurate data is impacting organizational performance, “the merits of software investment are shared by a core group of accountants.”

Four in ten (43%) “agree technology would most significantly impact accuracy, followed by reducing manual processes (39%) and reducing workload (31%).”:

Zoucha added:

“Technology is a crucial lever for organizations struggling with resource. It not only helps accounting teams bring clarity to their month-end numbers, but it also frees the team up to focus on the strategic imperatives. By focusing on strategic initiatives, organizations can ride out the current economic climate and be better placed for success moving forward.”

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