By Mario Spanicciati, Chief Strategy Officer of financial automation software company, BlackLine 

BlackLine spoke to financial decision makers across the UK to find out what the top priorities for finance and accounting will be next year:

  1. Driving efficiency: More than two in five financial decision makers told BlackLine this year that their priority for 2016 will be improving efficiency and accuracy – specifically around reporting and analytics. With new regulations such as the converged revenue recognition standard on the horizon for 2017, early action here makes sense, especially for those businesses offering bundles of short and long-term services. They may well need to change their reporting processes and work to different timings.
  1. Accuracy is everything: Of the 250 UK financial decision makers we spoke to, 45% are making accuracy of reporting a top priority for next year, compared to 38% in 2015. In joint second place, increasing financial automation (40%) and improved visibility and access to financial data (40%) are also at the top of the agenda for 2016.
  1. Further investment in automation: This year, we’ve seen a real surge in the number of businesses taking up cloud technologies to automate and control core finance and accounting processes. Investing in automation streamlines back-office processes, gives accountants more time to impact the front-office and provides finance teams the chance to take a more strategic business role. It increases security, provides more actionable information to a company’s lines of business and improves life at the accountancy coalface, potentially impacting staff retention rates.

BlackLine recently reported more than 100% year over year growth in EMEA and we believe this will continue well into 2016, with the coming year seeing financial automation and a Modern Finance approach going mainstream.