Perhaps surprisingly, robots in finance aren’t all that far off which will mean that in the not too distant future, financial administration will be handled automatically. With this is mind should finance professionals be concerned? Here we examine whether they should be.
From virtual assistants to customer service chatbots, robots are increasingly featuring throughout our day to day lives. Google’s DeepMind and IBM’s Watson go one step further. With a speed inconceivable just a few short years ago these supermachines are now using global databases in a completely new way.
New technologies play a crucial role in the development of current business software by enabling machines to rapidly make improvements that previously would have been unheard of. This is applied through algorithms - the analysis of large amounts of data and the conversion of that data into knowledge. For example, ERP software develops from the automation of a number of tasks to the total automation and direct processing of all tasks & responses. This is achieved without any human activity whatsoever and has a tremendously positive effect on the speed & effectiveness of business processes. By applying this type of smart software to frequently recurring activities, the risk that comes with human activity is limited as well.
A serious option
The automation and robotization of administrations and financial processes are options that must be researched thoroughly. By doing so this could well increase your chances of outsmarting competitors. Additionally, fewer manual actions are required as well, freeing up time for activities which generate more added value to the business. This means with better control of data, you acquire more insight into possible successes and risks.
No hands accounting might be unavailable for full integration at present but it nevertheless offers several options which can be implemented immediately. Your first point of action here is to effectively map and analyse processes which involve a large number of repetitive actions. Subsequently, manual activities can be significantly reduced by deploying the right technology in the correct way. Consider the following processes:
- The O2C process is characterised by numerous manual actions which can be effectively automated. When invoices are no longer sent as PDFs in an e-mail but via UBL2.1 instead digital invoices can be immediately included in the administration. This essentially makes misunderstandings and late payments a thing of the past. That’s a good thing because research shows that 62% of companies struggle to get paid on time; their DSO (Days Sales Outstanding) is too long*. With a digital process design, standard checks proceed automatically, with human intervention only necessary in the case of anomalies or exceptions.
- The P2P process is characterised by a high volume of standard and repetitive actions, especially where incoming invoices are concerned. These can easily be digitised with scan software, which means that employees do not have to enter transactions. All that is required is a simple check in the future where even that human check might not be necessary in the end. Moreover invoices will be automatically processed by a specific debtor. The amounts will be scanned and if these are correct the invoice will be added to the financial administration. It really can be that easy.
- Finally, let’s explore the possibilities for your reports. Compiling monthly reports costs an average of 7 working days per month. If your business has different administrations, you need extra help and a way to speed this up. In general, 80% of time is spent compiling figures with the rest of the time spent clarifying them. Due to no hands accounting, these percentages can likely be reversed. With centralised master data, standardised processes and system checks, you can work far more accurately and be more confident of your numbers.
A matter of the right mindset
Is it just about acquiring the right solutions and technologies? If only it were that simple. It’s crucial to analyse processes and determine where people are still carrying out unnecessary manual work.
The role of the finance professional also has to be developed in terms of how can you apply the latest technologies? How do they benefit your role and the company itself? How do you deploy digitisation and robotization strategically?
Who is Elementary Business Solutions?
Elementary Business Solutions is an Exact Certified Partner. Our technical business consultants have all been through the rigorous certification programme to ensure that they not only understand Exact software solutions but also understand how it can help your business reap the benefits.
What makes Elementary Business Solutions different?
Whether it’s Exact for Accounting, Time & Billing, Project Management, Wholesale Distribution or Manufacturing, the transition from implementing your new software to establishing a process where you are confident in being able to use it is crucial. We will work with your company and act as problem solvers, trainers and mentors to ensure your business reaps the benefits that your all-in-one integrated software solution can provide. We put in place the tools that will deliver lasting change and equip your business with what it needs to grow. This in turn will provide your business with a more efficient process of working, allowing you and your workforce to focus on the more important tasks at hand.