Finance departments are still heavily dependent on manual processes, paper forms, spreadsheets and siloed software systems. While finance teams spend their days performing time-consuming tasks, they are unable to focus on high-value work and deliver results. So, how can businesses ensure that financial tasks are conducted quickly and effectively, leaving their staff free to provide strategic insights?
Automation is an essential step in the evolution of the modern finance function. This has become even clearer during the COVID-19 crisis, which exposed shortcomings in finance processes and systems. As businesses seek to rebound from the global pandemic, automation will change the way organisations operate forever.
So, what do we mean when we say automation in finance? In simple terms, it’s using software bots to extract, process and move data from any source to any destination with minimal human intervention, which frees up time for employees to perform more complex work. Any finance function has high volumes of data across multiple systems and which often means that employees spend a lot of valuable time processing this data, such as supplier invoices or bank statement reconciliations, or preparing financial statements.
But what exactly are the benefits of Finance Automation?
The ability to manage, sort and organise data, and to do so in a secure and compliant way, is crucial for any business.
By integrating different systems together, automation in data processes provides a secure and streamlined way for your team to access the data they need instantly, as well as providing them with the information they need to be productive. It also allows data to flow more quickly and easily from system to system, reducing errors that manual data entry often causes.
Increased Speed and Throughput
Finance teams have to process high volumes of data and documents. Eliminating manual processes and adopting automation will save businesses time without compromising on quality.
Automation can reduce the time spent to process these items by over 80% compared to the time it would take an employee to perform the same tasks manually. This means that specific times of the year, like month-end and end-of-financial-year, become far more manageable for finance professionals with the help of software bots. In addition, this allows finance teams to focus on value-adding initiatives and analysis.
Enhanced Compliance and Visibility
Finance teams are held accountable to strict compliance and regulations. Automation delivers multiple new tracking points throughout a process, giving your team better insights, help spot any errors that may occur and make it easier to remedy them quickly or avoid them altogether.
It also provides increased and real-time visibility into processes, enabling a clear view of potential bottlenecks and areas of high risk. This way, your team is able to prioritise tasks before they have a chance of negatively impacting the business. Additionally, it helps uncover what improvements need to be made over the next period, as well as identify which individuals have completed certain tasks and which actions are outstanding.
Automation is designed to improve efficiency. The speed and increased accuracy automation can deliver means critical tasks carried out by a finance team like invoicing companies or paying suppliers are now much smoother. From a competitive standpoint, adopting modern automation technology is critical to ensure growth, maintain security, and meet customer expectations.
Not only will the speed and efficiency of automation result in improved customer satisfaction, but it can also lead to increased levels of employee satisfaction. Ensuring that tasks and processes are fully functional will create a happier and more productive workforce, and allow them to spend their time on more important work instead of manual, menial and repetitive activities.
Finance processes are the perfect place to start with automation, and, when implemented correctly, it doesn’t take much time for your team to feel the benefit. As budget-owners, finance professionals can experience first-hand the impact automation technology can have in an enterprise and serve as a gateway to deploying automation in other parts of an organisation.
Fundamentally, having a future-ready finance function elevates the role of finance professionals, drastically improves your organisation’s productivity and ultimately cuts costs.
If you would like to find out more about the benefits of automation or would like to learn more about how NexBotix can help you, please reach out to our team.