IMA Releases Research on Cloud-Based Solutions in the COVID-19 Era

Immediate Adaptations Are Affecting Long-Term Transformation Efforts

SINGAPORE, April 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) released a new report today on how short-term adaptions rooted in the COVID-19 pandemic can accelerate financial transformation with respect to corporate reporting. "Building Financial Reporting Resilience through Collaborative Cloud-Based Solutions" finds that although new time-saving cloud-based financial reporting platforms were a relatively low priority for organizations pre-pandemic, interest in agility and the potential continuation of remote working – including the control and oversight process – are bringing about renewed consideration of these systems.

Approximately 200 financial reporting professionals were surveyed on their appetite for more sophisticated technology-based solutions to speed up the tedious final steps of financial reporting.

"Although many companies use sophisticated systems for tracking voluminous, repetitive transactions, and accumulating data from various systems and spreadsheets, bringing this data together and producing an actual report is still overly dependent on cut and paste data wrangling on spreadsheets," said Conor O’Kelly, Senior Director of Statutory Reporting at Workiva and co-author of the report. "This is unnecessary when the right solutions are available to simplify the process." 

Despite confidence in their ability to get their jobs done with current technologies, the COVID-19 crisis is prompting some financial reporting professionals to rethink their technology needs.

"Corporate finance and accounting teams continue to compete with other departments for new technology systems," said Shari Littan, IMA’s Director of Corporate Reporting Research and Policy and co-author of the report. "Companies can benefit, however, by considering technology for the post-pandemic world. Investment can free up experienced and talented members of financial reporting teams, who can apply themselves to more value-added tasks."

Key findings of the report include:

  • Respondents indicated that before the pandemic, their respective corporate organizations placed a fairly low priority on technology-based financial reporting solutions. Two-thirds indicated they were behind other internal teams in competition for resources.
  • Around 30% expressed interest in a technology-based solution for various activities around the documenting of management review processes and judgment areas.
  • About 1 in 5 respondents have changed their prioritization or budgets for technology-based corporate reporting solutions for 2021 and into the post-pandemic period.
  • Respondents prefer new solutions for two areas: control ownership and succession, and assessing revenue expectations. Respondents from private companies expressed more interest in solutions around accounting processes that require estimates and sorting data.

"We’ve seen a discernible move by corporate finance teams to accelerate corporate governance and financial reporting processes to cloud-based collaboration platforms over the last 12 months in order to simplify complex work," added O’Kelly.

To read the full report, visit here.

About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)
IMA® is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the U.S. CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) and CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) programs, continuing education, networking, and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices. Twice named Professional Body of the Year by The Accountant/International Accounting Bulletin, IMA has a global network of more than 125,000 members in 150 countries and 350 professional and student chapters. Headquartered in Montvale, N.J., USA, IMA provides localized services through its four global regions: The Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe and Middle East/India. For more information about IMA, please visit www.imanet.org.

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