Artificial intelligence

Frustration Grows as Finance and C-Suite Clash Over Priorities. Could Automation Resolve Tension?

A disconnect is brewing between finance teams and business leaders over priorities and expectations, with administrative tasks caught in the middle. ​​

While the C-suite says they want more strategic guidance from accounting staff, finance professionals say they can’t meet these demands because of operational duties, according to new research from the Cloud-based purchase-to-pay (P2P) automation provider Yooz.

The 2024 Yooz Survey: Leaders vs. Ledger study found that nearly half of C-suite leaders think finance teams should spend over 50 percent of their time on strategic initiatives like business planning. However, just one-third of finance staff hit this benchmark due to being consumed by day-to-day tasks, confirming an ongoing and growing sentiment in finance’s drive toward automation.

“Our study illuminates the harsh truth that misalignment between executives and finance teams is standing in the way of organizational success,” said Yooz CEO Laurent Charpentier.

This disconnect is a major source of frustration on both sides. Sixty-seven percent of executives expressed annoyance at the lack of strategic input from finance. Meanwhile, 77 percent of finance teams said their strategic potential is hindered by leaders’ lack of understanding about the extensive daily operational pressures they face.

The root cause of the tension? Repetitive, manual workload shouldered by accounting staff. A majority of finance teams said they spend at least four hours per day–half their workday–simply chasing down documents and approvals for processing. An alarming 23 percent said they spend over seven hours per week on this low-value task alone. 

While 64 percent of executives believe finance teams are reasonably effective in influencing strategy, only half of finance professionals agree that their input carries real impact. The stark contrast lays bare the level of misalignment and lack of clarity around expectations.

Both groups did find common ground on one issue: that automation can resolve this dysfunctional organizational dynamic. More than 85 percent of respondents from both finance and leadership said that manual tasks significantly limit finance’s ability to provide strategic value. Data entry was cited as the top operational barrier.

An overwhelming 87 percent of C-suite leaders and 88 percent of finance teams emphasized automation as critical for unlocking strategic engagement from finance. And rather than simply hiring more staff, most felt process improvements and technology upgrades would better empower finance to deliver on leadership’s expectations.

Charpentier summed it up: “By embracing automation, teams can finally move beyond manual busywork and leverage technology to enable strategic decision making and direction that executives expect and need to drive the business forward.”

As companies feel rising pressure to maintain a competitive edge, the ability for finance to provide strategic vision is becoming ever more crucial. But, teams are effectively shackled by outdated processes and operational overload. This report from Yooz makes clear that to align around priorities, organizations must invest in automation so their accounting staff can deliver maximum strategic impact.

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