Ask anyone what the traditional role of the finance team is and they’ll likely say, to crunch numbers and keep the books up to date. They wouldn’t be wrong but they’d be severely underestimating the team’s importance.
It’s no longer just about the numbers. The finance team are trusted, strategic advisers who keep everything in check, take note of risks and feedback based on numbers and trends — and they’re the key to business success.
But ensuring compliance with regulations, overseeing all transactions and providing forecasts for tip top financial health is no mean feat. And as with anything, human-led input leaves room for errors.
That’s where robotic process automation (RPA) and automatic intelligence (AI) comes in. RPA automates existing processes that exist with legacy systems so your finance team can digitise data for real-time results — a game changer for every finance team.
How automated are your operations?
So how automated are your finance operations right now? Is your finance team focus on day-to-day firefighting, or do you have focus on process improvement?
Demands from CEO, Board, auditors and regulators to produce quality, accurate quarterly and or annual reporting is high on the list of challenges, along with reducing operating costs while still driving company growth.
On top of that, the need to provide in-depth analytics and clear business insights into financial performance while maintaining capital adequacy and liquidity and being on top of risk management in the event of economic downturns provides added pressure for your employees.
Many finance teams have already made the move to a more streamlined accounts process with the use of digitisation and are reaping the benefits: faster data insights, more accurate reporting, and more productivity.
And with technology always evolving, things will only get better. While actual AI as an integral part of a finance team is likely still a few years away, RPA is the first step towards intelligent automation and an all-round better, more efficient business.
Benefits of intelligent automation
How does it work? RPA and AI integrate seamlessly into existing applications and replicate user actions. The bots perform acts based on set rules and using sophisticated algorithms and involve people as needed to handle exceptions or to complete the process.
Automation is already reducing repetitive data entry tasks for finance teams around the world, and can be used in a number of areas, including:
Financial Operations and Accounting
- Enable better and faster data insights for business decisions.
- Reduce repetitive manual tasks, allowing for more time to be spent on strategic decisions and initiatives.
- Eliminate errors in financial reporting.
- Enable on-demand report generation for both regulatory and external reporting, instead of monthly/quarterly reporting.
Financial Planning and Analysis
- Digitise business data for future analysis, so you can provide a single source of truth and offer strategic guidance to business units.
- Provide better visibility into operating expenses and cash flow.
- Provide better visibility into assets and inventory.
- Shorten the order-to-cash cycle by automating paperwork.
- Improve accounts payable processing with no errors, eliminating things like late payments, or worse, over-payments.
- Match incoming invoices to POs automatically – straight through payment processing
- Automated purchase order creation and validation.
- Travel and other employee expense reimbursements.
- Improve accounts receivable processing
- Improve sales order processing – input data across systems, error free
- Used to create invoices, again reducing manual input.
- Used for customer setup, freeing up your employees for more customer-facing and added-value work.
- Automate auditing and compliance tasks
- Use bots to upload/send data to tax authorities for timely compliance
A more streamlined supply chain means better supplier engagement and reduced operational costs, while increased capacity and speed means improved relationships with customers. Plus, digitising some of your workforce will help you increase capacity, speed, accuracy and means you are available to your customers 24/7 – a customer’s dream! And in times of uncertainty, you’re in a better position to react to changes in the global economy that may impact business growth, so you can forecast for a better business.
Either way, automation of financial processes is a win-win for your business and your employees.
To find out more about how RPA can help your business, read our other blogs, sign up to our mailing list to receive a free copy of the ‘RPA – An Executive Primer’ eBook, or book in a call now.