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BlackLine study: 99 percent of companies confirm difficulties in intercompany accounting

New research reveals growing challenges are impacting business outcomes, talent retention, and more.
E3 Magazine
July 24, 2023
New PAC Study Published: SAP S/4HANA in Germany
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

A global survey commissioned by accounting automation software leader BlackLine revealed suboptimal intercompany accounting processes are creating wide-ranging issues for businesses globally.

In the survey of over 260 intercompany stakeholders working at large multinational companies, 99% said they face specific challenges with intercompany financial processes. Results show that the size and scale of intercompany transactions, coupled with outdated processes, is putting significant and unsustainable pressure on people and resources.

Negative impact on business outcomes

All respondents said intercompany challenges have a direct negative impact on business outcomes. The most frequently reported challenge (49 percent) is an increase in statutory and tax audits and their associated fees.

The report’s findings show business leadership may not realize the scale of the problem. Nearly all respondents (89 percent) characterized their C-suite leadership and corporate boards as lacking a solid understanding of intercompany details and associated business impacts.

Unsustainable pressure on talent

Ninety-two percent of respondents said intercompany challenges are impacting the hiring and retention of top talent. The survey suggests stakeholders are dealing with an unsustainable level of pressure. One in three reported their teams experienced physical or mental health issues due to the stress of intercompany, and 96 percent stated that employees regularly lose full nights of sleep.

The volume and value of intercompany transactions may be part of the problem. Over three quarters reported that the value of intercompany transactions was more than five times their annual revenue and over a quarter said it is over 10 times greater.

Automation key to resolving intercompany challenges

The research suggests many companies do not have proper visibility and control over these transactions. Nearly all (97 percent) of those surveyed said they have had to resolve multi-million-dollar material variances,

The good news is the findings show intercompany stakeholders understand that digitizing processes will improve the accuracy and reliability of their data. Most agreed (80%) that process automation is key and all respondents said they would benefit from additional technology capabilities for intercompany. Half of those specifically said intelligent, automated intercompany analytics and reporting is at the top of their wish list.

"Given the complexity, scope and time-consuming nature of intercompany accounting, these findings can no longer be ignored," says Mike Polaha, SVP of Finance Solutions and Technology at BlackLine. "The costs associated with inadequate intercompany operations are so high that executives don't have the luxury of waiting any longer."

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