The 5-Minute Guide to Finance Process Automation


December 13th, 2018 finance  

Finance teams have a lot of moving parts. Accounts payable juggles contracts, check requests, and tries to get everyone on the same system. General ledger teams must keep track of assets and reconcile payments. Everyone has an important role to play, but it can seem like each team is working independently.

On top of that, there are multiple chances for errors to pop in all the time. SWIFT codes may be missing a digit, or a typo on a supplier name causes a payment to be denied.

When systems and teams are siloed and run separate manual processes, errors can increase dramatically, and the big picture is missed. Finance automation is one step to get everyone on the same page and also limit the frustration and chaos of errors.

What Is Finance Process Automation?

Finance process automation is the use of software to automate key finance-related tasks like accounts reconciliation, journal entries, and preparing financial statements with minimal human intervention. It enables finance departments to streamline processes and ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Finance process automation can have multiple effects. Financial forms can be pre-populated with standard information pulled from a common database like a vendor list. Data transfers and other mundane work can be set up with system integrations. Finance workflows can be routed automatically instead of being reliant on someone remembering the next person it is supposed to go to.

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How Does Finance Process Automation Help You?

Automating finance processes eliminates clunky procedures and does most of the heavy-lifting for you. Here are a few benefits that finance process automation brings:

Data Integrity

You may have an awesome finance team in place, but they are reliant on a lot of things beyond their control. Minor mistakes, difficult suppliers, and changing policies make it hard to maintain accurate information. When your data in forms is automated, you can be confident there are no manual errors and you have the correct numbers.

Improved Efficiency

Moving from manual processes to automation can help the finance team to smoothen all existing functions. Anything that slows you down is replaced by a reliable and automatic process.

Speedy Approvals

Whether it’s a budget approval or a reimbursement claim, having an automatic approval system set up will help you save as much as eight hours a work week. As an added advantage, you can also eliminate unwieldy email threads checking on the status of every request.

360-Degree Visibility

When all your systems are connected, you get a complete picture of your financials. You can understand the logic behind your fluctuating financials which will help you make faster and smarter business decisions.

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How to Automate Your Financial Processes

There are plenty of finance processes in your organization like budget approvals, purchase requests, and travel reimbursements that can be automated. Before you switch to finance process automation, there are a few things you need to take care of:

Standardize Your Financial Processes

Before you look at automating your processes on a digital platform, sketch out the workflow and form on a whiteboard. You’ll be able to see where you need to make changes and streamline tasks. It’s also important to talk to stakeholders to get their perspective on what needs to change to make the process better.

Once you’ve outlined what your process needs, you can evaluate finance management tools that will help you create a digital version of the finance processes you want to automate.

Create a Digital Form and Workflow

Build the perfect form to capture all the important information you need. You can customize it to make it even more useful for your team. Then, create the workflow, keeping in mind conditional tasks, sequencing, and how to dynamically assign people to different tasks.

Integrate With Other Software

Once you’ve automated the different financial processes, you need to ensure that your systems are communicating and sharing information with each other. Select tools that can be easily integrated; sometimes a third-party application, like Zapier, can help you with connecting these different tools.

Manual Processes Have No Place in the Future of Finance

According to an EY study, 65 percent of the surveyed businesses believe that automating finance processes will be a significant priority in the future. Options like KiSSFLOW can help you automate your finance processes, with its ready-to-use finance process app templates, or you can build yourself one based on your requirements.

When all your competitors are automating their business processes, you can’t afford to be left behind. Turning to an automation gives you an edge over your competition by raising your efficiency and productivity, so you can focus on what really matters.

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