Automation has made huge advances in the past few years, from driverless vehicles to self-checkout kiosks at grocery stores and voice-activated AI that can perform searches for you.
To unlock the value of your finance function, you need to automate the tedious, manual work that consumes so much of their time and effort. An automated process that’s repeatable, organised, reduces your exposure to risk and provides confidence in the outcome. The resulting efficiency and effectiveness free up your time to focus on analysis, on strategy, on actions that will improve your bottom line.
Ask any new businesses, accounting is the classic exemplar for an automated function in the modern office. Why? Business moves quickly and its imperative to have financial oversight, especially in the world of the SME where cash is king.
The key to liberation is to review your processes and automate as much as you can. But automation alone won’t transform your organisation as you already have a dozen different cloud applications to solve all kinds of business problems. The real key to transformation, is to integrate the variety of stand-alone data silos and automate the data that is dispersed across multiple applications – building repeatable processes.
Where do you start?
Many businesses fear finance transformation projects, and the confusion of figuring out exactly where to start often leaves many to quit before they even begin. The most successful process evolution projects start at the bottom. Looking downstream for manual processes to identify opportunities for automation, especially where there is manual data entry. When processes are broken down into smaller and smaller components, opportunities for automation and optimisation surface organically.
Many of the processes that are the easiest to improve and automate are also often the most manual and risky. Start with the low-hanging fruit. Consider which manual processes not only are risky, but also those you may be able to tweak quickly for instant improvement.
Let the machines ensure consistency and control in daily operations. Automation can easily take over many of the number-crunching activities performed by finance, because machines do things the same way all the time, the numbers add up perfectly, minus the risk of human error. Automation can easily match transactions, create and post journal entries, send notifications and flag items for human review.
Connect and integrate with your existing systems. Look to enhance, not replace, your existing systems and extend your automated functionality to processes, systems, and data beyond the reach of each silo and facilitate the integration of disparate financial systems, CRM and legacy systems.
Get it right and you can revel in a suite of services that connects any combination of on-premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data across your business.