Digital Transformation in Finance: Automation Delivers Fast
The pandemic, and now the macroeconomic environment, have accelerated the need for companies to move even faster in completing their digital transformation to stay competitive. And automation has already started to play a huge role in companies’ ability to do so.
Automation is being prioritised as a strategic imperative.
At one time, digital transformation was viewed as a ‘rip-and-replace’ undertaking. Ripping out existing systems and applications to replace them with new ones. More recently, we’re seeing an increasing number of enterprises adding an “automation layer” on top of their application stacks.
The automation layer sits between workers and the enterprise systems and applications they need to get their work done. In weaving together applications, systems, and software, robots are allowing organisations to re-imagine business processes. And reap the benefits without the costly, risky, and time-consuming rip-and-replace undertakings that were once required.
The role automation is playing in digital transformation is amazing. Especially in finance.
Years ago, the Finance and Accounting (F&A) departments were one of the first areas where businesses began using automation technology. Since then, industry leaders have found new ways to innovate, and the ROI that robots are providing to many F&A departments today is truly impressive. Software robots are currently giving back more than 100,000 hours annually to an industry leaders' F&A department.
Some organisations still have employees locate invoices in their ERP system and then upload the invoices to customers’ portals.
Robots can handle that for for your Commercial Finance team. These robots can also makes sure each customer receives the invoice as soon as it’s issued and, at the end of the day, can send the team a report of all invoices sent during the day.
Cost savings from robots doing transactional tasks are an easy calculation. What is your cost per transaction before automation? What was the cost for processing one invoice? Compare that to the cost per transaction once robots are handling those tasks—it’s easy for any F&A team to be happy about the results.
Other examples include global payroll accounting automation and a “Soft Close” bot that helps close purchase orders.
With the time and cost savings from robots, the F&A departments in your business can create new Revenue Recognition Operations teams. By delegating accounts receivable and accounts payable tasks to robots, employees can be freed to work on more complex jobs. And moving employees to the new teams provided new career opportunities—they’re now on a path to becoming controllers in the future.
For many in finance, ensuring accuracy and meeting required timeframes governed by compliance regulations are what keeps them up at night. Mistakes can cost organisations millions. "Accelerated digital transformation, persisting pandemic pressures and increasing regulatory requirements are driving widespread compliance disruption," reports Lexis Nexis. Robots ensure higher accuracy for these integrated audits and compliance regulations.
Improved accuracy and speed
How long does it take your F&A department to close the books after the quarterly close? I’ve seen it take close to two weeks in some companies, however industry leader can close this within 5 days.
This is a critical business process that’s perfect to delegate to robots. The process tasks are tedious and dull. Both of which can contribute to human error.
There’s no human error when F&A departments can close the books each quarter, as robots provide 100% accuracy.
With robots handling those aspects, finance employees shifted time and focus to analysing the data robots prepared. Team members embraced the shift to more complex work. An added bonus of team members being happier and more productive is the higher retention rate.
A more recent example is the “Data Gathering for Indirect Tax Compliance” automation. A robot gathers the documentation required by our indirect tax compliance supplier. Then the supplier prepares tax returns for all subsidiaries.
Before the robot, employees manually exported all the necessary reports and supporting documentation from various sources. With the robot, there are no human input errors and the process is faster.
Has this inspired you to transform your finance department?
Reach out to one of Conekt's experts in Automation. 1300 CONEKT