Is your finance group spending an excessive amount of time on handbook processes?

May automation offer you extra time?

Ideally, because the CFO or monetary supervisor, your finance group has a strategic position, supporting you, the CEO and the management groups to make vital enterprise selections that form the long run.

However what if you happen to don’t have time to do this mandatory work?

What if you happen to’re spending 10 or extra days on month-to-month monetary closes, reviewing and reconciliating your data?

You may need month-to-month closes, quarterly closes, or annual audits to cope with.

At the moment for many companies, there’s loads of repetitive work concerned to get by way of these cycles attributable to time-consuming handbook processes.

On this article, we spotlight the way you and your finance group can say farewell to these handbook processes courtesy of automation.

Right here’s what we cowl:

Challenges of handbook processes for finance groups

Managing processes may be time-consuming for finance groups, particularly with issuing and processing invoices, conserving observe of budgets, and creating monetary reviews.

As your corporation grows and processes and reporting turn out to be extra advanced, it’s widespread to waste unbelievable quantities of time with handbook knowledge entry, unruly spreadsheets and time-consuming workarounds.

Irrespective of how expert your finance division could also be, any system that depends on manually inputting data from paper is slow and subject to human error.

Each time a chunk of paper adjustments arms, you introduce a possibility to misinterpret, misplace or misunderstand one thing.

For an organization that handles tens of hundreds of invoices per thirty days, even a tiny margin of error can lead to enormous losses.

Handbook processing additionally results in an absence of management and visibility, leaving you unable to make knowledgeable selections to successfully lead your group, creating an setting susceptible to fraud.

How spreadsheets are slowing the monetary shut course of

Spreadsheets are low-cost and versatile.

Everyone knows how they work. And in a lot of instances, they are often actually helpful.

Nonetheless, a major drawback with spreadsheets is that you need to enter calculations as formulation, so you should be taught the right formulation for every calculation you want.

And that may be an enormous drawback in terms of coping with your financial close processes.

Coaching for this takes time, and a few customers nonetheless discover them difficult.

When you enter a formulation or knowledge right into a cell incorrectly, all calculations associated to that cell will even be unsuitable.

Giant spreadsheets can inevitably have some enter or formulation errors, which may be time-consuming to search out and result in extreme penalties if uncorrected.

You possibly can add spreadsheet on high of spreadsheet as you want them.

However as your corporation grows, your workbooks will turn out to be extra advanced, resulting in extra time wasted on upkeep.

The extra advanced spreadsheets are, the extra of an issue it may be for anybody to alter, modify and even destroy knowledge.

When you lock them down, they lose the very flexibility that made you employ them within the first place.

Why automation can velocity issues up

By incorporating automation into your monetary processes, you possibly can considerably cut back shut days, improve agility, decrease prices, enhance productiveness, cut back delays, minimise errors, and in the end give your group extra time to deal with technique, enterprise progress and success.

Automation can lower the monetary near a extra manageable three to 5 days and has the potential to get rid of the close entirely.

Sooner or later sooner or later, you may be capable to automate all of the processes inside your finance group absolutely. Automation makes a future attainable the place real-time knowledge removes the necessity for a detailed—as you’re all the time present.

Software program as a Service (SaaS) companies that may have solely been in a position to forecast renewals quarterly can trend-spot in actual time, flagging materials adjustments.

Maybe most significantly, automating routine duties of assurance and accounting workflows frees up your finance group to deal with extra strategic actions.

Find out how to undertake automation for monetary processes

When you’re taking a look at getting automation going, listed below are some steps you may wish to take.

1. Perceive what sort of automation you want

Each enterprise is completely different, and it’s essential to get the most effective worth. It’s important to know what space of your funds might do most with automation.

You possibly can deal with reconciliation, for instance, an enormous drain of assets for any finance workplace.

Reconciliation is a course of the place you need to match the entry within the checking account with the related bill in your system when you obtain a cost.

Why not automate reconciliation?

With some forms of financial management software, it’s attainable to create guidelines the place common funds routinely get matched to their invoices.

Moreover, synthetic intelligence (AI) means you possibly can match up one-off or in any other case discrete funds.

After all, somebody out of your group will nonetheless should test the reconciliation.

Nonetheless, there’s a substantial time and labour distinction between peering at two lists, matching issues up, and easily checking that an present reconciliation is appropriate.

Automation might mean you can import statements out of your monetary establishments and routinely reconcile them in minutes when managing your money.

You’d be capable to shortly spot exceptions, handle financial institution errors, monitor for fraud, and preserve correct money balances.

2. Develop a enterprise case

When taking a look at automation inside departments, it is best to query how economically viable alternatives are.

You need to examine what the return on funding can be.

Get related stakeholders in from the departments in query and try to create a enterprise case.

3. Get administration buy-in

It’s good to get data straight from stakeholders on what they perceive in terms of automation and the way it could be capable to profit them.

You and different management group members ought to assist the broader enterprise perceive what automation can do and the way it might make their working lives simpler, letting them deal with extra vital, much less repetitive duties.

4. Assist IT in organising the techniques

The IT group can present technical experience to make sure automation implementation runs easily and on the proper velocity.

The technical management wants to begin small with automation, get the enterprise used to the expertise, and broaden it when it will get used to the adjustments.

With the cloud, your finance group can turn out to be extra agile and quicker, gaining efficiencies by way of the time you save by eradicating time-intensive handbook duties.

To extract worth from automation, will probably be as much as you to evaluate industrial fashions, take a look at the dangers, recognise and account for worth, and apply controls and governance.

5. Get outcomes

Create a transparent automation roadmap. You’ll should work intently together with your folks, who will drive the usage of new expertise.

With the tech in place, you’sick must work at measuring your progress and ask a number of questions of your finance group:

  • How are you utilizing automation, and are you doing it proper?
  • How efficient are your new processes?
  • Are they resulting in the productiveness and effectivity enhancements you count on?
  • What outcomes do you see with the brand new expertise?
  • How will you get enterprise metrics to your supposed targets?

AI forecasting the long run

Automation is a subcategory of AI that follows pre-programmed guidelines to run processes.

Nonetheless, we’re certain to see extra superior types of AI sooner or later as techniques apply self-learning functionality by way of machine studying.

The longer term will see forward-looking finance groups use knowledge science and AI to look into the long run, utilizing real-time insights and AI-powered forecasting.

At the moment, AI may help help small companies with money movement forecasting, whereas, as we’ve mentioned, bigger medium-sized SaaS companies in particular industries may use AI to forecast renewals.

Members of your finance groups can use AI to construct patterns of understanding, figuring out transactions flowing by way of the enterprise that don’t match these patterns—in actual time.

Your group can have confidence when reviewing a whole lot of hundreds of transactions a month. People can not evaluation all of that manually.

Aaron Harris, chief expertise officer at Sage, says: “The true worth in AI-powered forecasting isn’t that it’s extra correct than people; the actual energy is that AI can do it constantly, and principally at no cost.”

Editor’s notice: This text was first printed in Could 2022 and has been up to date for relevance.

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