📣 New on Brex — business banking that takes every dollar further >

Blog

Articles

How CFOs are ove...

Journal Home

How CFOs are overcoming the accountant shortage.

Automated spend management reduces errors by 90% so accountants can close the books 7x faster* and focus on more high-impact work.

accounting flagship preview image (3)
accounting flagship preview image (3)
accounting flagship preview image (3)
accounting flagship preview image (3)

How CFOs are overcoming the accountant shortage.

Automated spend management reduces errors by 90% so accountants can close the books 7x faster* and focus on more high-impact work.

Is the accountant shortage here to stay?

Are you having a hard time finding good corporate accountants these days? Or, if you're a controller, do you feel like you’ve been shouldering more of the accounting burden lately? You're not alone.

According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 300,000 accountants quit their jobs between 2019 and 2021 (a 17% decline), creating a critical accountant shortage in the US. Additionally, the number of US accounting graduates is also on the decline as fewer students choose to make accounting their careers.

Businesses rely on accountants to optimize cash flows, meet ongoing tax and compliance mandates, and provide financial strategies that enable business growth, so the lack of accountants is nearing crisis levels. A recent wave of public accounting-related errors reaffirms the need for a strong accounting function.

Lyft, Planet Fitness, Mister Car Wash, and Rivian all recently had to correct quarterly earnings statements. Such errors shake investor confidence — and can result in SEC fines — and staffing issues may be to blame. In 2023, more than 720 companies said insufficient accounting staff was a reason for potential errors, up 30% from 2019, according to equity research firm Hudson Labs.

So why are so many accountants leaving the industry? Workloads, for one. The 80-hour workweeks grinding on manual tasks drive out talent and deter others from entering the field.

Accountants are in short supply, but the critical work they do isn’t going away. So what’s the move?

Since the accountant shortage looks more like the new norm, the realistic answer to the accounting shortage isn’t more accountants. It’s accounting automation.

Using automation to navigate the accountant shortage.

Which is worse — too few accountants to do the work or accountants too bogged down by manual work to do any strategic work?

A lack of accounting expertise in your company can cause financial instability, negatively impact cash management, and stifle business growth, not to mention its potential for creating tax and regulatory violations. But cumbersome expense management processes that monopolize accountants’ time similarly block any gains from that expertise.

Accounting automation creates the time and space to activate that expertise. Studies show that accountants automating spend management processes reduce data entry errors by 90% due to fewer manual employee inputs and reviews.

Plus, your entire business will benefit:

  • Employees can focus on generating value instead of manually tracking expenses or spending hours filing expense reports.

  • Finance teams can do strategic work with real-time visibility and reporting instead of manually entering data or chasing documentation.

  • Executives have more accurate financial data to make strategic decisions and grow the business.

Brex is the leader in AI-powered spend management and accounting automation. We’ve built a platform for expenses and accounting that delivers industry-leading efficiency. See why our approach helps you simplify accounting, close the books nearly 7x faster,* and free up finance to be more strategic.

GL mapping
GL mapping

“We knew Brex would take our accounting team from reactive to proactive. Brex automates the submission of expense reports, so our accounting team will have everything they need to close the books in real time.”

— Patrick Lynch, Senior Vice President and Controller, Boston Celtics

Brex's accounting automation is a huge win for the Celtics 

How to automate accounting with Brex.

Why are almost 75% of accounting tasks ripe for automation? Because most organizations typically add more tools and processes to enable employee spending without fully understanding the downstream impact on accounting. Accountants are then left to reconcile the mess caused by:

  • Multiple card programs

  • Spreadsheet-based expense tracking

  • Disjointed accounting, bill pay, travel, and ERP software

  • Separate accounting logs for non-US entities

Brex’s integrated platform replaces all of those tools, and our comprehensive solutions work together to automate work for employees and finance. Read on to see all the ground you can gain via Brex’s:

  • Deep ERP integrations and custom configurability

  • Automated preparation, review, and export processes

  • Enhanced control, transparency, and data availability

Learn how controllers are tackling the accountant shortage.

controllers-guide_callout (1)

Learn how controllers are tackling the accountant shortage.

controllers-guide_callout-mobile

Streamline ERP syncing with deep integrations.

Get a single, reliable source of financial truth with Brex’s native accounting integrations, which allow you to integrate with any ERP and set up auto-classifications, customizations, and export options tailored to your accounting needs. NetSuite even named us a partner of the year due to our NetSuite integration.

  • Match your custom fields and automatically pull in native ERP fields. With data auto-categorized through spend limits and budgets, the heavy lifting is done at the swipe of a card.

  • Prevent data silos and eliminate manual entry with automatic syncing to continuously update your transactions in your ERP.

  • Manage global spend across entities in one platform and one login, while mapping all spend to the correct GL account automatically. Classify and export transactions to the correct subsidiary with subsidiary-level billing and ERP mapping.

Simplify your accounting workflows.

Brex automates the preparation, review, and ERP export processes so accountants can move faster and do more with less. Our AI-powered platform automates expense document collection and employee compliance, giving accountants what they need to close the books faster.

  • [Prepare] Eliminate employee errors and improve compliance with touchless expenses that auto-capture IRS-compliant receipts, memos, and categories for every card swipe.

  • [Review] Auto-approve in-policy transactions and use machine learning to flag policy violations, such as alcohol on a receipt. This way, only the exceptions need additional review.

  • [Export] Save accounting teams hours by automatically coding transactions and syncing to the correct GL account with no manual intervention.

“Previously, our accounting close was around 22 hours working through 15 different corporate cards. With Brex, that documentation piece is down to 2-3 hours.”

— Teddy Collins, Vice President of Corporate Finance, SeatGeek

Greater access and control of your data.

How does Brex enable more informed business decisions? We own our payment rails, so we issue the cards, track all expense and user actions, and provide this data to accountants through our comprehensive dashboard.

  • Track the expense lifecycle with our Audit Log, which provides a detailed account of all actions taken within the Brex platform, including user actions on expenses. This improves control and visibility, reduces fraud, and enhances your security and compliance efforts.

  • Achieve continuous close by pushing transactions to clearing accounts with set accrual dates and automatic reverse journal entries to your ERP. With real accrual-based accounting, never again write double entries to offset uncleared expenses.

  • Access more accurate spend data with our real-time reporting, budgets, and bidirectional ERP syncs, which provide maximum transparency into all of your spending.

Additionally, Brex allows you to choose the preferred ERP export method — direct integration, custom CSV, API, or SFTP — to meet your company and regulatory compliance obligations.

Accurals (1)
Accurals (1)

Automate your accounting today.

There aren’t enough accountants. That’s why leading businesses are embracing Brex accounting automation to overcome the accountant shortage and do more with less.

Learn how we’re further enhancing the accounting experience in our 2024 Summer Release, or see a demo to see the automation possibilities in real time.

Group 1073715871
Group 1073715871

*The metrics provided are from May 2024 and for illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results, which may vary.

Pre-footer (2)Campaign footer mobile

See what Brex can do for you.

Learn how our spend platform can increase the strategic impact of your finance team and future-proof your company.

Get started
Campaign footer mobile
Campaign footer mobile

See what Brex can do for you.

Learn how our spend platform can increase the strategic impact of your finance team and future-proof your company.

Get started

Related articles

Business travel preview

Business travel reimagined: The modern way to do T&E

It took a joint technology partnership and an overhaul of the entire process to create Brex travel, but business travel is finally good again.