Don’t ignore complex finance processes from your automation agenda
As the roles of CFOs and other members of Finance teams continue to evolve, they are increasingly finding themselves under pressure to deliver greater volumes and types of information to the business – with ever shrinking deadlines.
To adapt to these changing times, many organisations are leveraging automation, in all shapes and forms, ranging from moving processes into core systems, using robotic process automation (RPA) and leveraging smart, cloud platforms (like SolveXia) to enhance and augment their staff and aid their finance and digital transformation efforts.
In this post, we want to highlight complex finance processes in particular – the tasks that are performed and understood by only a handful of key finance staff in order to produce critical information for execs, the board, regulators and auditors as well as customers, partners and suppliers:
As can be seen from the image above, these types of processes require staff to gather data from a variety of internal and external sources, and then prepare that data so they can then perform their analysis for the final stakeholders. Common examples include:
- Reports (such as sales reports, regulatory filings etc.)
- Calculation of rebates for sales channels, suppliers, trade promotions etc.
- Workflow tasks for gathering data, sending out alerts and getting approvals
- Analytics such as KPI’s, performance reporting, trend analysis, variance analysis etc.
Unfortunately, in the age of automation, many of these (often repetitive) processes remain manual, relying on spreadsheets (bringing with it, all of the problems that we are accustomed to seeing with tasks that rely on large, complex spreadsheets and data manipulation). The reason for this is they are either considered to be too hard to automate or are too niche to warrant setting up an IT project.
Rather than ignoring these critical processes from your automation agenda, the high performing companies:
- Acknowledge that complex finance processes are different to other processes and therefore require different technologies and methods to automate; and
- Automate these processes at the back of the IT queue, rather than waiting months or years for IT to have resources available to move them into core systems; and
- Understand that the appropriate automation of these processes strikes a healthy balance between systemisation and agility – in that the processes continue to be owned and led by the business (and not IT) and are highly adaptable to future changes.