Research Indicates Internal Financial Controls More Important Than Ever As Data Perceived To Be Increasingly Valuable

Business, Technology

BlackLine-sponsored survey reveals that although F&A sees increasing value of data, they feel more can be done to improve internal controls and protect it

 

Global research from BlackLine, Inc. suggests that data is increasingly seen as one of a company’s most crucial assets – vital to these organizations’ brands and business success – with virtually all the respondents (97 percent) considering data to be valuable to their business operations and 67 percent stating that data is ‘very valuable’.

In today’s digital age, most companies currently use cloud services in addition to their own internal systems to store valuable, sensitive and proprietary financial and business information. With cloud adoption seeing exponential growth and data becoming increasingly ubiquitous, protecting it is becoming increasingly difficult. Despite the overwhelming consensus on the increasing value of data, the survey of more than 900 CFOs, finance directors and accountants around the world in large and midsized businesses reveals widespread reliance on the IT department alone to manage and control the data.

All businesses are susceptible to cyber risks. By taking a more proactive stance and ensuring proper internal controls are in place, Finance & Accounting (F&A) can help thwart potential breaches of financial and business data. “F&A has the opportunity to actively partner with their IT and Information Security counterparts to better understand the safeguards that are in place; and they should, considering they are primarily responsible for the financial controls for the organization,” said Patrick Villanova, vice president and principal accounting officer at BlackLine, a leading provider of financial controls and automation solutions that enable Continuous Accounting.

The BlackLine-sponsored survey, conducted by Censuswide, included respondents in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia and indicates that 81 percent either rely entirely or in part on IT professionals to ensure utmost data security across their organization’s network and systems.

Fifty-two percent of the respondents said while Finance & Accounting ensures financial systems like the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system are regularly updated and the staff is aware of cybersecurity best practices, they leave the vast majority of the upkeep to the IT department. Another 29 percent said they rely entirely on the IT group.

“There is no denying the value of data but the survey indicates that many F&A teams are surprisingly passive and not nearly diligent enough when it comes to safeguarding it,” said Villanova.

Only one in five (19 percent) of the respondents said their Finance & Accounting department takes a highly proactive role in pursuing optimal data security. In light of recent and ongoing cyberattacks and the growing financial value of companies’ big data assets, CFOs may want to reconsider this passive involvement. “Protecting the data should be everyone’s responsibility—not just the concern of the IT group,” said Villanova.

By automating the financial close process, F&A professionals have greater visibility into their organization’s financial data to identify potential threats or irregularities sooner than later, Villanova explained. “By leveraging a cloud platform such as ours or cloud tools from other well-established companies, F&A can strengthen internal controls, providing real-time transparency into enterprise-wide financial data and transactions,” he added.

 

Note

Survey respondents were sourced from large organizations with significant minimum annual revenues:

UK £50 million+
US $150 million+ (USD)
France €50 million+
Germany €50 million+
Australia $50 million+ (AUSD)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *