Complete Guide to Data Automation for CFOs

It’s simple – data automation saves businesses both time and money.

Big data is changing how businesses operate as it offers real-time information that can be used for critical decision-making. But to maximise the usage of big data, automation tools are necessary. In America, 54% of companies have already adopted RPA tools.

With automation software, business processes can be handled automatically, so humans can focus on other activities while the work still gets done. With the ability to move with more accuracy and efficiency, the competitive advantage that data automation and analytics provide can make or break your business. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been adopted by 25% of CFOs in 2019, which represents a 7% increase from 2018.

The digital analytics, AI and data automation revolution means that you can work smarter without working harder.

What is Data Automation?

Data automation is the use of systems and equipment to collect, process and store data. Data automation is often accomplished by Robotic Process Automation (RPA). At the very basis, RPA is a form of mechanical automation that performs tasks in the same way that humans do. RPA is best used for back-office responsibilities and duties that are repetitive. A human can record themselves doing the process, and then the robot will follow suit and continue executing the command. As good as RPA is, it lacks limitations because it’s designed for low value and repetitive tasks, rather than advanced analytics, forecasting and modelling.

RPA is helpful for tasks that are simple and repetitive because it can copy and paste data. A great example is CRM data. Rather than having your team input customer information from a form into the CRM, let RPA handle the task. It is also great for connecting legacy systems to put all data in one place.

With such artificial intelligence and automation tools comes machine learning. Machine learning adds an extra layer to automation as it means the robot has cognitive ability to learn with more data. As data and tasks are executed, the form of artificial intelligence uses machine learning to optimise its processes and can change conditions without human interaction. For example, if you use artificial intelligence to calculate the probability of a loan default, machine learning can use algorithms to assess the historical data and make predictions on the likelihood based on what the system has learned.

However, many times human knowledge is required to get the most out of data automation, due to changing regulations, industry complexities requiring a need for a high-value output, where a human can guide the automation tool then human analytical automation like that of Solvexia is the way to go. This kind of automation offers high value analytical and modelling tools that can predict, forecast, create trends and plan for the future.

Harnessing the knowledge base of employees, human analytical automation can help reduce compliance risk, optimise operational effectiveness and perform high-value tasks that are sure to enhance workflows productivities, efficiency and targets while reducing business risks.

Benefits of Data Automation for CFOs

The benefits of data automation are extensive when it comes to all businesses, especially within finance departments, where so much work is based on the accuracy of the information and the timeliness of decisions.

  • Better Decision-Making:
    • Data automation tools quickly scale and is efficient in getting processes done. Even more so, human-specific automation can consolidate data from multiple sources, create visual reports and store data for trend analysis, which continues to offer its rewards when it comes to decision-making. With study and forecasting under control, the pressure is lessened as decisions are naturally informed.
  • Control and Compliance:
    • Because automation tools like SolveXia can bridge gaps between separate systems, it quickly helps to ensure that regulation and government compliance is taken care of in terms of reporting and submissions to reduce compliance risk.
  • Reduced Operational Risk:
    • With trend analysis and forecasting, businesses can reduce their operational risk with an automation tool. While connected systems mean transparency and readily available data for everyone across different teams and data sources.
  • User-Friendly Systems:
    • Data automation software is intended to be user-friendly, and therefore, can be used by all departments, even those outside of IT, to make workflows smoother.
  • Assists Human Resources:
    • With human analytical tools, employees can focus their time on the human aspect of the job. The software is intended to augment and assist rather than replace human resources. For example, the tool can help transform and cleanse data and then create visual reports that are supported by forecasting and trend analysis. Therefore, employees can make better decisions.
  • Lowered Costs:
    • While automation can replace tedious tasks on behalf of humans and, in turn, reduce the staff of costs or amount of workers, it can also speed up processing. Since “time is money,” the software can help in closing out invoices such that payments won’t be late. OCR can also use it for data extraction of invoices rather than timely manual entry.
  • Consolidation of Legacy Systems:
    • Most businesses have a slew of software and legacy systems in place that holds their data in several locations. Not only does this set-up lead to higher costs with extensive infrastructure, but it also relies on a highly-skilled workforce to be able to use each system properly. The process of bringing data together from various sources into one centralised location is called data integration. Data automation tools can help handle this enormous task by accurately bringing the data together into a single-use system that can safely and be accessed by all relevant parties.
  • Leverage Large Data Sets:
    • The ability to reconcile large amounts of data and accurately store, use and transfer are of high importance in an increasingly digital age. Tools like SolveXia can leverage large data sets to create trend analysis and predictive modelling.

Automation’s Uses

There are multiple uses for automation, and while some can be accomplished with RPA, others require more advanced automation like that of human analytic automation tools. Let’s take a look at the processes each can handle so that you can better assess what kind of tool you may need for your business.

  • Mechanical Automation/RPA
    • Onboarding: RPA can be used to set-up new vendors, create invoices, update tax data and credit scores, etc. all automatically.
    • Records & Reporting: It can help with maintaining records and reporting so that the software supports financial close, by automating copy, paste tasks to reduce processing time and minimises data errors.
  • Human Analytical Automation
    • In business, especially finance, the value of human expertise and knowledge does not go unnoticed. Because many industry fields can be so highly technical, specialised and dynamic, you want to be able to maximise the time and energy of your human resources to harness the power of automation with their analysis and insights.
    • With human analytical automation like Solvexia, you and your team can accomplish the following:
    • Data Extraction, Consolidation and Management:
      • To piece together legacy systems, you can use RPA or finance specific automation to bridge the gap between various locations where data is housed. But, to take it one step further, human analytical automation can help you manage your data to glean insights. For example, these tools allow the user to quickly model and forecast all data, or in-depth analysis to create visual reports that help you assess decisions. It also automates specialised processes that are usually only understood by accountants and actuaries so that anyone can understand the data.
    • Modelling Data:
      • The software can validate existing data, run your model and create reports. For example, it can be used for trend analysis for life insurance actuarial projections and other predictive modelling like revenue optimisation.

Which Tool is Right for You?

You have the option to choose between low-value RPA and high value human analytical tools, or you can have them both working together and simultaneously.

If you’re looking to accomplish repetitive tasks like preparing cash flow statements or copying and pasting information from one location to another, then mechanical automation like RPA will suffice. However, if you need a more advanced and robust tool that pairs with human intellect to help project, model, and plan for the future based on trends in data analysis, then a human analytical automation tool like Solvexia could be a great option.

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