NEW YORK; Aug. 9, 2005 – While a large majority of finance executives say the need to improve operational efficiency is their primary challenge, a significant number of their organizations continue to use manual and labor-intensive methods of transaction processing and are unaware of the process improvements that can be enabled through technology, according to a report released today by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
The report is based on a survey of more than 120 senior executives to determine the main benefits of technology within finance functions, as well as the current levels of technology adoption within their organizations. The survey was conducted in January 2005 by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Accenture Finance Solutions, an Accenture business that provides finance and accounting services to businesses and governments on an outsourced basis.
According to the findings, when asked to identify the major challenges facing their internal finance organizations, 78 percent of all respondents rated the need to improve operational efficiency as the top challenge. However, only 15 percent of the companies surveyed currently transact the majority (60 percent or more) of their accounts payable and accounts receivable functions on a fully automated basis. To date, the biggest barrier to a company adopting new transaction-processing technology, cited by 40 percent of respondents, was a lack of awareness within their organizations about what technology could actually do to improve transaction processing.
“The findings show that finance executives are challenged to improve efficiency and reduce the time and cost to process transactions, yet they are not widely embracing technology to achieve change,” said Anoop Sagoo, a partner at Accenture Finance Solutions. “Technology can address these challenges by automating manual processes and integrating financial information. Many of our clients have found that outsourcing processes to a specialist provider is a good way to capture the benefits provided by technology and contribute to high performance in their businesses.”
Other key findings of the survey:
- Additional major challenges faced by internal finance organizations include the need to reduce the time to process transactions (cited by 68 percent of respondents) and the need to reduce the cost of processing transactions (cited by 64 percent of respondents)
- More than three-quarters (77 percent) of respondents said the integration of financial information – enabling the creation of a single version of the financial “truth” -- was the most important reason for adopting new technology
- Likewise, half (50 percent) of respondents said that having fully integrated financial information would provide the biggest cost savings for their internal finance organizations.
- Almost half (49 percent) of respondents said that the introduction of Web-enabled tools to facilitate communication with customers and suppliers was a priority for investment over the next three years
The online survey, conducted in January 2005 by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Accenture Finance Solutions, explored the views of 120 senior executives from companies around the world in a variety of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, information technology services and energy. Respondents included chief executive officers, chief financial officers, finance directors and vice presidents of finance from organizations with revenues ranging from less than $500 million to more than $10 billion.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With more than 115,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$13.67 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2004. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
About Accenture Finance Solutions
Accenture is one of the world’s leading providers of finance and accounting business process outsourcing (BPO) services. With more than a decade of experience, Accenture Finance Solutions offers a complete suite of finance and accounting BPO services through its global network of delivery centers. Employing unique, proven assets and tools to reduce risk and increase the effectiveness of finance operations, Accenture Finance Solutions works closely with finance leaders to help them achieve high performance through quantifiable improvements in service, capabilities and cost. More information can be found at: www.accenture.com/financesolutions.