At the heart of every successful business, there’s an efficient Finance department.
A lot of everyday routines and functions changed for businesses after the pandemic. The most affected department, though, was Finance, who, despite the hardship, have managed to keep companies afloat. But this just meant a vast number of added responsibilities.
As a business owner, you might be left with the question:
How do I enable my Finance department to achieve the same efficiency levels as they did back in the office?
We’ve crafted this article to elaborate on financial process improvements such as invoice management and how automation can help with them. Curious? Let’s dig in!
What is a financial process improvement?
An improvement made to a standard financial task or workflow is called a financial process improvement. A process improvement could benefit your entire organization if done correctly.
Some of the most common process improvements are:
- Making use of technology to automate tedious and low-impact tasks.
- Eliminating manual intervention to improve the accuracy of data entry.
- Redesigning financial goals to aid business goals.
- Optimizing broken processes and workflows to enable smooth functioning.
- Improving processes for onboarding and training new employees
What financial processes benefit from automation?
- AP & AR (Accounts Payable and Receivable)
- Enables Finance teams to handle invoice management from a single platform (creation to payment.)
- Enables teams to deploy automated reminders for recurring payments instead of having to send reminders via mail manually.
- Teams can easily store and retrieve receipts from centralized cloud storage, making the audits a breeze.
- Expense Management
- With an expense management software, Finance teams can collaborate with employees seamlessly even with the increased physical distance. It dramatically reduces the number of back and forths or clarifications needed to approve and process expense reports.
- The robust policy engine in an expense software can process and enforce custom business rules based on your company’s individual needs. This ensures policy-compliant expense reports always.
- This level of control and monitoring can ensure that every fraudulent expense is picked out; thus, helping to prevent expense fraud in the company.
- Payroll Processing
- Finance teams can automate the recurring calculation and processing of wages, benefits, salaries, commissions, and bonuses every month.
- Adding a new employee to the payroll happens instantly, with approvers being notified at the same time.
- The entire payroll process becomes an easy one-click process.
How Can Automation Improve the Efficiency of Your Finance Department?
“30% time in the average workday of a Finance employee is spent on tasks that can be automated.” – Gartner Report.
Businesses need to ensure employees know that automation isn’t out there to get their jobs but to aid them in doing their jobs better. To help you understand and internalize this better, we’ve listed out how exactly automation improves your Finance team’s efficiency:
- Business leaders can make financially backed decisions
Leaders can use data from various sources like cash flow statements, expense reports, or income statements to analyze profitability indexes and understand the company-wide financial status at all times.
This helps identify various risks that may threaten the company’s financial bottom line in the future. This also helps companies predict and develop mitigation strategies to ensure no harm to company finances.
- Eliminates human intervention and improves data accuracy
While a simple accounting error (where a $13 is reported as $31) seems ignorable in the short run, consider that even interchanged values can cost businesses vast sums of money if repeated by multiple employees over multiple report submissions over long periods. This would lead to complete wreckage of your business’s financial situation if not corrected.
This is where automation walks into the door. Automation tools like an expense report software can improve data accuracy by extracting expense data from receipts using Optical Character Recognition. Then, by auto-filling expense reports with relevant data, they ensure that no erroneous reports get by.
- Achieve automated compliance and eliminate expense fraud
Your company’s financials are in danger if you still follow a traditional spreadsheet-based system. Also, let’s face it, any three-year-old with access to a laptop could modify it. So take a second to think if this is how you’d want your business’s most crucial information to be stored.
An automation tool like an expense software is the solution here as the robust policy engine present within it ensures that no fraudulent expense gets by. Further, it identifies, flags, and notifies all stakeholders of any duplicate or fraudulent expenses. This makes achieving compliance a one-click process.
- Save time and money every week
“Automation saves over 25,000 hours and $878,000 every year for those organizations that have opted for them.” – Gartner.
Automation simplifies processes that took Finance teams multiple hours to complete. Thus it is safe to say, automating data entry, payment processing, and verifications frees up numerous hours for a Finance employee to dedicate time to other high-priority tasks.
Finance teams would need to be aware of all up-and-coming laws, have advanced insights into expense data, and have a real-time overview of business expenses to stay right on top of company finances.
While automation can be achieved through multiple softwares, ensure you test run a few before choosing the one that perfectly suits your organization’s needs. Being able to reorganize your Financial department to improve efficiency will enable your business to thrive in a series of new normals that are due.