The recession forced many businesses to make deep staff cuts, and accounting departments were certainly not spared.
As the economy begins to recover, most companies do not plan to increase hiring for their domestic financial departments, according to a CFO survey showing 75 percent of executives plan to keep head count steady, while only 15 percent plan to hire.
In order to maintain efficiency with smaller staff, many companies have developed new business models, increased offshoring and boosted automation. One organization that benefited greatly from automating its accounts payable process is the S2.5 billion restaurant chain Burger King. CFO Ben Wells took on the task of condensing and standardizing several accounting processes, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, travel and entertainment expense management and costs related to fixed assets over the past two years.
Wells decided to consolidate positions at a financial shared service center in Miami, Florida, as opposed to relying on outsourcing, wanting to fix processes and accrue savings internally. This move was paired with upgrading the company's accounts payable technology so that it could process handwritten invoices from vendors without requiring a lot of staff intervention. Automating accounts payable and installing systems such as duplicate payment audit software helps minimize errors.