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Automating your Finance: Who wouldn’t want to Reduce their Costs?
It is time to streamline your financial processes!
Financial processes are a requirement for businesses to remain operational. Regardless of the industry or operation, most companies have a few fundamental financial processes in common. The primary goals of these processes is to ensure efficiency, accuracy, timeliness, and regulatory compliance. Utilising traditional methods can be time and labour intensive. Automation of financial processes removes the room for reporting errors and reduces the operational costs associated with financial procedures.
The Role of Artifial Intelligence
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has been shown to improve efficiency, accuracy, and compliance for repetitive and rule-based processes. When RPA is combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI), it creates a range of new automation opportunities. Artificial intelligence has started to play a pivotal role in automating document-centric business processes with technological advancements in machine learning, computer vision and deep learning, adding a human-like intelligence to a bot-driven automation process.
Fundamental Financial Functions
These five core financial processes can benefit from implementing automated processes.
1. Accounts Receivable
The primary responsibility of the accounts receivable department is to bring cash into the organisation. The department has the responsibility of setting up new customer accounts, generating accurate invoices and collection of payments that traditionally involves various error-prone tasks. RPA streamlines the process by retrieving information directly from multiple sources and reconciling amounts to ensure data accuracy.
2. Accounts Payable
This department typically dedicates significant resources to validating vendor invoices against procured items and ensuring the timeliness of payments. Automating the accounts payable process allows companies to pay their suppliers without human intervention, enabling a more efficient and accurate validation and payment process and avoiding overpayments and potential risk of error.
3. General financial operations
General financial functions such as the management of balance sheets, general ledgers and income statement transactions are time-consuming. Automation via enterprise resource planning systems can still result in error-prone activities that require human intervention. The automation of general financial operations using RPA can result in improved efficiency and accuracy of the otherwise manual processes of journal entries, account reconciliations and external reporting.
4. Financial planning and analysis
Repopulating financial data based on historical data is a tedious responsibility for finance professionals. However, budgeting, forecasting and management reporting are all essential functions that enable an organisation to make sound business decisions. Financial professionals within this department become consumed with manual tasks such as market research and preparing variance reports. The automation of the data-related activities with RPA frees employees to focus on more value-added tasks and ensures a more accurate view of the data.
5. Treasury operations
Management of cash flow is essential to ensuring continued business operations. Cash reconciliation and reporting require an understanding of cash flow at any given time. This means that bank account balances must always be consolidated. Working with repetitive data is labour intensive. Automation of these processes with RPA improves the accuracy and timeliness of reporting and forecasting, allowing financial resources to be more appropriately allocated.
Automation with RPA is possible for financial processes. The automation of repetitive data processes reduces human-error and enhances each process, creating efficient, accurate and compliant reports.