This blog originally appeared as Part 2 of the continuous accounting blog series in SAP’s D!gitalist Magazine. 

Why did the accountant cross the road? 

Because that’s what he did last year.

Before we delve into the individual aspects of the accounting and financial close (the record to report process that I discussed in the last blog), let’s first address change management. The third main point discussed in the Ventana Research paper is:

Adopt a continuous improvement approach to overcome inertia and the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset to which finance staffs are particularly prone.

This is a huge paradigm shift to overcome. The financial close process is not a “wish list” process. It’s something that is mandatory, not only for regulatory reasons delegated by the government of every country but also for private companies, by the owners. Financial reporting and the delivery of financial information is essential to the operation of any organization. Your business produces financial reports, and it “works”—so why fix what ain’t broke?

Well the thing is, the attitude that “if we did it last year, let’s just do it again, and now we’re good” IS what’s broke. When an organization finds itself taking that approach, then THAT is when it needs to understand and embrace the move towards continuous accounting.

You need to move beyond closing the books every month to asking, Is it efficient? And then, you need to ask, How can we change what we’re doing now to adopt the technology that exists to enable continuous accounting?

You need to evaluate how “Continuous Accounting integrates people, processes, information and technology to achieve a transformation of the finance function and its corporate role.” – Ventana Research paper.

Think about that for a moment. This blog series is designed to parse out the different steps in the accounting and financial close, the RTR process. The technology is there NOW. Your processes are based on historical processes based on traditional technologies. You need to think about how people in your accounting and financial close departments, your exceptional accountants (perhaps you), can transform the processes that happen at the end of a period.

What are you doing now because you’ve “always done it that way?” What reports are being created today because ‘Mary’ said she needed it—ten years ago?  Does your organization still need that? If it does,  are there more self-service tools that you can utilize to get Mary’s information out to the organization?

Let’s not just cross the road because ‘Mary’ did it last year (or the year before that, or the year before that!).

Instead, think about how you can transform your accounting and close processes and how you can impact transformation. Our series blogs that dissect the accounting and financial close process will give you the information you need to get started.

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This blog originally appeared as Part 2 of  the continuous accounting blog series in SAP’s D!gitalist Magazine and has been republished with permission.  Read the rest in the series: