Nobody likes busywork. Unfortunately, finance and accounting teams must often complete a variety of mundane manual tasks that take up precious bandwidth. What’s more, finance tasks often require mathematical precision and pinpoint accuracy.
For these reasons, and more, finance processes and functions are often ripe for not only automation, but also hyperautomation, which Gartner defines as “an approach of rapidly identifying, vetting and automating as many business processes as possible” by “using an orchestrated combination of multiple technologies, tools or platforms” which may include:
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning
- Intelligence business performance management suites
- Low-code and no-code tools
Putting the scale of finance automation temporarily aside, the point is that by implementing this modern approach to task and workflow management, you can free up your finance team members’ time and energy for other, more important tasks and leave the mundane, manual ones to automated workflows.
For instance, Fidelity Investments realized numerous benefits when it implemented finance workflow automation with PerfectApps, including but not limited to:
- Streamlined communications
- Reduced processing times
- Reduced paper waste
- Removal of manual data entry for many processes
What is Finance Process Automation?
Finance process automation is essentially a subcategory of business process automation, applied specifically to finance-related tasks.
Business process automation, in turn, is defined by Gartner as “automation of complex business processes and functions beyond conventional data manipulation and record-keeping activities, usually through the use of advanced technologies”.
The main goal of automation in finance is to streamline often tedious or lengthy finance processes, creating efficiencies and removing friction for key stakeholders. But this has other untold benefits — like enabling businesses to devote precious time and resources to other aims, including growth and development.
Which Financial Processes Can Be Automated?
Just about any financial process you can create a custom workflow for can be automated. Here are some examples taken from our blog post “6 Basic Weekly Finance Workflows and How to Design Them”:
- Preparing and sending invoices
- Reviewing bank statements
- Reviewing credit card statements
- Checking for bills due
- Calculating days in Accounts Receivable
- Calculating collection effectiveness indices
- And more
How Finance Process Automation Enables Business Growth
Common benefits of automation in finance and accounting include:
- Aggregating finance data for easy consumption and comparison
- Reducing errors and risks associated with human error and manual processing
- Freeing your finance staff up for more strategic initiatives and taskwork
The opportunity cost of not automating key finance processes and workflows often amounts to “getting left behind” or falling behind competitors. In the words of Forrester,
“The world’s largest firms face mounting pressure to deliver more timely and transparent financial results that are subject to more exacting standards. As a result, they are increasingly concerned about the level of heroism required by key IT and finance staff to deliver reported financial results in complex, global organizations. Application development and delivery professionals, looking for less drama, increased standards, and predictability, are turning to process automation to achieve these goals.”
Conversely, when implemented, automation in the finance industry leads to not only quality and consistency but also scalability.
That’s because when you increase the quality, consistency, accuracy, and expediency of your finance processes, you free up bandwidth and open your institution up to growth opportunities that would have otherwise been impossible due to a workforce bogged down by manual tasks and processes.
How to Implement Finance Process Automation in Your Institution
We hope this piece has helped you understand why finance process automation is beneficial and how it enables growth & development for your institution.