Best Practices

The Case for Including Your Accountant in Your Decision Making

by Kevin Au

96% of finance executives are concerned their companies are not agile enough. This is because they have yet to integrate their accounting firms/teams into the executive decision-making process.

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The future of finance is here, but the finance teams at many midmarket companies aren’t reaping the full benefits—yet. Perhaps this is because they haven’t asked their accounting firms to weigh in.  

New research from and Wakefield’s survey of 500 CFOs, VPs of Finance and Controllers at small and midmarket companies shows areas of opportunities where accountants can support finance executives.  

The survey provides an interesting snapshot of current financial operations. Nearly half (49%) of the finance executives polled said they expect their roles to be more challenging this year compared to last year.  Fifty-three percent indicated that business forecasting was a concern, with 43% saying the quality of data is a challenge.    

The complications intensify when finance executives consider automation (or a lack of it). When asked how many hours their teams spend a week on tasks that could be automated, they estimated 11 hours a week for each team member. For one employee alone, that works out to nearly 600 hours a year (roughly 71 days or more than two months). That is valuable time that can be reclaimed and reinvested into more meaningful tasks.  

Adding to the snapshot is the fact that nearly all (96%) finance executives are concerned their companies aren’t agile enough to react to new changes. 

Overall, many finance executives believe that the year ahead will continue to be unpredictable, with finance executives expecting a range of issues including cash management concerns, talent retention and technological struggles.   

Accountants, with their unique visibility into opportunities for improvement and growth internally paired with broader industry perspectives, have a valuable seat at the table as companies try to plan for the future in the present volatile market. Utilizing the latest technologies and their own deep industry expertise, they can help their clients manage complex issues including staffing, credit management and industry forecasting to ensure the financial future of their businesses.  

Here are some of finance executives’ top challenges and areas of need for accountants' perspectives. 

Better managing cash, credit and expenses 

Fluctuating market conditions have created challenges for midmarket finance executives as they plan for an uncertain future. As businesses look to cut costs and save dollars, the data shows that nearly 9 in 10 finance executives will prioritize cost savings efforts this year. Additionally, 71% of finance executives report that access to credit is very or extremely important as they look for new ways to grow their businesses. 

Accounting firms can offer important insights to support this growth, as increased visibility into cash flow is the first step for finance executives looking to proactively manage spend. A financial operations solution empowers accountants and their clients by providing greater visibility and proactive controls to manage business costs and spending more efficiently. 

Enabling Efficiency and Retaining Talent 

In the midst of the great talent reshuffling, midmarket companies are increasingly challenged as they look to build out and retain efficient teams. According to survey results, 35% say hiring costs and frequent turnover are top concerns. Retaining and optimizing teams are also a concern for finance executives, with the average financial executive losing 1.5 days of work (11 hours per week) to inefficiency. 

Automation is a key solution for finance executives and accountants alike. A technology solution powered by automation helps accountants and other financial executives better manage their most important (and limited) resources—talent and time—by reducing manual work. In fact, 59% of financial executives will look to automating or outsourcing to save staff time and improve efficiencies. This helps increase job satisfaction by allowing team members to focus on more meaningful work and learning new skills, such as mastering technology and automating workflows. 

Additionally, recent college graduates are looking for companies who use the latest technological tools to reduce manual work so they can focus on the more interesting aspects of the job. The next generation of talent wants to work for innovative companies, not old school companies using manual workarounds. 

Increasing Agility & Forecasting Capabilities  

Nearly all financial executives (96%) reported concerns that their companies are not agile enough to react to new changes. Additionally, 35% say forecasting amidst continued uncertainty is a top concern due to difficulty establishing data. This uncertainty provides an opening for accounting firms to advise on opportunities for growth and change within their businesses. 

Neither companies nor their accounting firms can control macroeconomic challenges such as inflation and supply chain snarls that make forecasting a challenge. But with improved insights into cash flow and spending, finance executives can stretch out payables and pull in receivables to make the most of what they can control. 

Additionally, companies can benefit from accountants’ experiences when it comes to financial technologies. Many firms go through extensive vetting of fintech platforms, with accountants and firm professionals undergoing continued education programs and certifications. As a result, they can assist financial executives to the best of their ability in developing robust change management plans and implementation strategies. This is a key area where accountants’ insights into business operations and broader industry perspectives can be leveraged to make their clients more agile.  

Utilizing the Correct Technology to Solve Tough Problems 

Financial executives are clear that point solutions are not meeting their needs, with nearly 9 in 10 reporting that technology is a pain point in their organization. Why? More than a third of our survey respondents said their various tools and solutions do not work with each other. 

This provides an opportunity for companies to benefit from accounting firms' industry-specific expertise to develop a seamless technology stack equipped to meet the client’s specific needs. When properly implemented, tech stacks can alleviate pain points and reduce headaches from manual processes by utilizing the power of automation to streamline work and alleviate bottlenecks along the way. This also empowers finance executives to make tough decisions more easily through the use of clear, actionable data. is an important part of many tech stacks, acting as a one-stop-shop for many of the financial operations of a company by automating financial operations while improving visibility for financial leaders into cash flow management. 

Finding the Best Advice Possible 

As finance executives plan for an uncertain future, technology can be a silver bullet. But the challenges arising from connecting and integrating these insights into business plans can prove too difficult for finance executives to manage alone. 

Accountants are well-positioned to help clients manage their challenges through the insights and efficiencies provided by an integrated tech stack. Integrating the best technologies to alleviate pain points is a win for all parties; accountants will gain greater insight into their clients’ businesses, and clients will be empowered to unlock their full potential.  

Kevin Au is the Vice President of Product Management at