Welcome aboard, finance professionals!
Yes, it looks like we are now in the same boat. For years, digital transformation soothsayers have been pointing to the rise of cloud computing and DevOps as a sign that IT professionals must step up and claim our rightful role as strategic business advisers and change agents. We are no longer janitors of tech. Now, similarly, your role is evolving beyond cash maintenance.
Automation and artificial intelligence are paving the way for finance experts to move from cash counters to value/wealth creators. Put down the calculator. Close the Excel spreadsheet. Join our strategic business advisory.
Benefits of Finance Process Automation
Data-entry drudgery is the time suck of most finance and accounting departments. Those predictable and repetitive, high-volume processes are perfect use cases for automation. And because most finance operations are rife with manual-process-intensive legacy systems, they are particularly well suited to robotic process automation (RPA). RPA automates on top of existing systems, training computers to do the tedious, swivel-chair operations humans have long endured. That’s why 70% of RPA market leader UiPath’s customers start their automation journey with finance and accounting.
Your department is ripe for quick automation wins. Prepare to reap the windfall of:
1. Increased productivity: Machines do data entry faster and better than humans.
2. Improved accuracy: Fewer data-entry errors mean higher quality data.
3. Faster, better decision making, risk management and compliance: These are natural outcomes of having quicker access to more reliable data.
Where Do I Start?
You can eventually automate everything from general ledger reconciliation to variance analysis. You could even have RPA prepare and file your taxes. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Most companies start with procure to pay, order to cash, and record to report processes. Invoice data entry is such a popular proof of concept that UiPath demos invoice extraction and processing. Cash applications – matching payments to outstanding accounts receivable – is another common starting point.
Begin by thinking about your predictable, repetitive, high-volume tasks. If you bring us a list of processes currently eating away at your finance employees’ productivity, we can determine which are most automation-ready. From there, we lay out an automation roadmap – which processes to bring online in what order. Then, we work together to pick them off one at a time, documenting the ‘As Is’ and ‘To Be’ processes and implementing accordingly.
Know Your Automation Options
You know the old adage: If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. Gartner’s new buzzword for 2020, hyperautomation, is knowing all the automation tools you have at your disposal, when and how to use them, and how to integrate them all together. RPA is the hot tool for finance right now, and the accessibility and utility of artificial intelligence will also only continue to grow. But would you believe you already have basic automation tools in your Office 365 suite with new ones being announced as I write? The burgeoning automation market has new entrants and features popping up weekly. It’s a lot to stay on top of. We can help you assemble the automation big picture that makes sense for your finance department.
Remember, the goal of automation isn’t to replace people; it’s to let humans be human. Free them up to have big ideas and create value. It’s time for finance professionals to ascend to the right hand of the CEO. The more clock-eating data entry we can take off your hands, the more time you have to analyze, influence and innovate.
Tim Kulp took an unconventional path to his tech career, so it makes sense that his tech career is anything but conventional. A homegrown Maryland boy, Tim has always been captivated by what makes us uniquely human: art, religion, storytelling. These are the things he studied in college before “a series of coincidences led to an accident,” his first IT job.
Now, whether working with startups, global brands, advertisers or healthcare providers, he pushes clients to find the technology that makes them more creative, more productive, more human. As our VP of Innovation & Strategy, he’s known throughout the Mid-Atlantic as the guy who makes tech people-centric.
When Tim isn’t working or spending time with his family, he’s still working. Honing his storytelling craft, mentoring up-and-coming professionals, or reading up on game design and theory. That’s how it is when your job is also your calling. In the era of artificial intelligence, Tim’s crusade to make us more human can’t be confined to business hours.