Automation remains the biggest challenge facing the finance industry today

CaseWare Africa's Christiaan Brink is encouraging accounting professionals and CFOs to embrace financial technology.

One of South Africa’s leading financial reporting and assurance software businesses CaseWare Africa uses financial technology to tackle compliance issues, help support professionals in streamlining their processes and profitability, and bring efficiency in accounting. Fintech aims to challenge traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services.

Product executive for CaseWare Africa Christiaan Brink gives a bit of background into the company’s expertise:

“At Adapt IT, we provide specialised software solutions across targeted industries that span customer experience, core business operations, business administration, enterprise resource planning and public service delivery” he explains. “Adapt IT consists of multiple divisions and CaseWare Africa sits in the financial services division. At the core of our division is financial and assurance compliance.”
 
Challenges in the sector
One of the biggest challenges that the financial industry faces today is how finance professionals are not sufficiently leveraging technology to drive automation across their firms. Too many are still using Excel as a primary reporting tool, and aside from the manual lifting that comes along with working in this way, producing too many spreadsheets often leads to processes that take longer than they should and can often be too easily manipulated and lead to unnecessary mistakes.   

Another challenge is keeping up with regulatory compliance in the financial sector. These regulations continue to evolve and tend to become more complex over time and are onerous on finance teams.

Lastly, accounting professionals are working in an increased competitive environment where their customers are moving away from a billable hour pricing models, to wanting to pay a fix cost for an outcome.  That means practices are limited in how much they can grow the business based on 1) how long specific engagements take to complete within their teams and 2) how much they can charge for those services to remain competitive in the market.

“Time is money for accounting professionals, so when they spend less time on one particular client’s engagement than they normally would, not only does the engagement becomes more profitable, but there’s now additional time to onboard more clients with a fixed resource base and grow the business with additional revenue,” Christiaan says.

CaseWare’s solutions
CaseWare’s Financial Reporting solutions help accounting professionals streamline their workflows and eliminate the need to draft annual financial statements manually in Excel.  Their reporting tools allow accounting firms to automatically import data from their accounting platform and use that within a financial reporting template that adheres with the latest compliance standards. They create software solutions that help companies in the professional accounting, corporate and the public sector to create financial statements and conduct assurance engagements. As part of their solution suite, they also offer software solutions that facilitates tax management, secretarial services as well as time and billing.

“Our clients get automation and compliance out of the box and this leads to significant time savings for the accounting professional. Instead of spending days doing something manually, with our automation and compliance, accounting professionals can do things in hours. This empowers the accounting professional to manage more engagements in less time, increasing profitability, driving more revenue, without scaling resources needed proportionally,” Christiaan says.
 
Automation and compliance
Compliance and automation are two key value elements that CaseWare focuses on. With regards to compliance, the software developed by CaseWare implements the latest disclosure guidelines, ensuring that their clients comply with latest standards and relevant acts when they are conducting engagements. “In essence, when you use our software you gain in two ways, compliance to deal with regulations and disclosures and automation to free up more time for you to focus on other profit-making aspects of the business,” he says.

He adds that, they are not claiming that their software does the entire job for you. They believe that automation takes care of the burden of manual lifting and empowers accounting professionals with more time to apply their judgement and personal responsibility. The software helps them with accountability, and works as a second set of eyes, that look at the finer details.
 
Industry leaders
CaseWare is the market leader in financial reporting and assurance solutions in South Africa, and is widely used in the professional accounting, corporate and public sector market.  CaseWare is passionate about supporting good governance and more than 80 percent of the municipalities in the country use their software to produce their annual financial statements. The software is also used at a provincial and government level.
 
Market penetration
CaseWare Africa’s biggest business is in the private sector, from large auditing firms and all the way down to the one-man band accounting practices, and also serving a wide variety of corporate clients. CaseWare Africa serves clients not only within South Africa, but also across the African content for English speaking countries.

Make sure you visit CaseWare at Finance Indaba Africa to find out what the integrated financial reporting system is, how corporate tax in the cloud works and how you can use it to streamline corporate tax returns in the cloud.