Half of CFOs frustrated by complex accounting systems

Chief financial officers need to upgrade to easier-to-use accounting systems, but are strapped for time and lack the resources to make the right choices, according to survey

Chief financial officers (CFOs) crave accounting systems that are easy to use, and more than half think current complex systems are not intuitive enough, according to a survey by Barclaycard.

Almost three-quarters (73%) said they would opt for ease of use over advanced functionality when choosing their next accounting system.

Current systems are too complex, with 48% of CFOs frustrated that accounting systems are not digitised enough, and 40% saying they are too labour intensive. The survey also found that 44% of CFOs want more automation when they upgrade.

Marc Pettican, CEO commercial payments at Barclaycard, said strong accounting systems are the backbone of any successful organisation. “It’s important that businesses invest in the solution that’s right for them,” he said.

“When looking at more integrated alternatives, having the ability to integrate your finance system directly into your procurement platform can help streamline the wider procurement experience, offering a far less labour-intensive approach to payment reconciliation.”

But while 85% of the CFOs surveyed by Barclaycard said they need to continuously invest in their accounting systems, more than three-quarters (77%) admit to not having time and resources to find the right one. This is slowing decision making down, and the majority said they believed it’s better to delay investing in a new system rather than deploying the wrong quick fix.

CFOs are missing out on the latest systems as a result, which has a financial cost. For example, out-of-date accounting software is not able to automate payments to meet supplier conditions for an early settlement discount.

Barclaycard used economic modelling to calculate that UK corporates currently save a total of £14.4bn in early payment discounts each year, which equates to an average of £75,389 per business – but there is £6.7bn more available that is not being taken up.

The study found that 22% of businesses were using out-of-date accounting software, and 40% admitted software had not been upgraded for five years because of resistance to change.

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