Reporting is the top reason finance execs access the cloud

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Almost 90 percent of finance executives are using advanced technology for financial reporting, according to a new survey from KPMG and Forbes Insights, highlighting the value of such software to the finance and accounting profession.

“Investors are increasingly looking for financial information in real time — they don’t want to wait two or three weeks after the close of a quarter to see your results,” said Sarah Broderick, CFO of VICE Media, in the report. “They can log on to their bank accounts and brokerage accounts and get up-to-date information on a daily basis, and they expect the same from companies they invest in. Technology and the cloud can make this happen. It’s simply a matter of making the right investments to bring your systems up to date.”

However, along with the heavy use of the cloud comes concern over cybersecurity. Over a third are worried about unauthorized access of data in their organizations, a fourth say they are concerned about cloud vendor or internet outages leaving their data out of reach, and another quarter are apprehensive about relying on third parties to run their financial reporting systems. In comparison, only 13 percent say cost is the top concern of using the cloud in financial reporting.

Other noteworthy results showed almost 80 percent of finance executives are using advanced technology for predictive analysis and workflow automation.

However, 81 percent of the 261 CFOs, controllers and other financial executives surveyed said that their organizations are not keeping up with the emergence of technologies that could help them make more informed decisions and run their businesses better. While almost every respondent (99 percent) said advanced technology can enhance external audit, for example, only a quarter said such advanced technologies are a “must have” over the next two years.

Isabel Witte, vice president and controller of Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics North America, said in the report that respondents’ definition of “advanced” may be subjective: “Some people may be comparing themselves to industry peers or are using current technologies in ‘advanced ways,’ but are not necessarily using ‘advanced technologies.’”

Robotics and natural language processing take a back seat to predictive analysis and workflow automation, but still over a third of executives said they use both types of technology.

To view the full report, click here.

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