Finance professionals have the challenging task of ensuring that most of the business and its corresponding operations are always in order. Yet, the finance and accounting functions have lagged behind others when it comes to automation.
It’s a curious phenomenon considering the mundane and often repetitive analog tasks that corporate finance professionals perform daily. Accounting automation can save finance professionals valuable time, allowing them to focus on higher-value activities that benefit the business in more ways than one (think: saving money).
This guide can help you dive into accounting automation and determine whether it’s time to upgrade your corporate back office.
What is Accounting Automation?
Accounting automation is an aspect of digital transformation in finance that uses technology to streamline and simplify the tasks finance professionals are responsible for. In short, it’s leveraging cutting-edge technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning, to support finance professionals as they perform their work.
In some ways, implementing accounting automation can feel like adding another member to your finance team. Best of all, this team member is competent, can handle challenging tasks with ease, and is a pro at analyzing data. Sounds like a dream, right?
Unfortunately, lingering misconceptions about accounting automation may make potential adopters wary of the shift to digital. However, the results of our “ Survey of Automation in ERP and the Finance Back Office” make it clear that automation is not only needed in the back office but desired by corporate finance professionals working across the industry.
The Key Benefits of Accounting Automation
Understanding what you can gain by adopting accounting automation into your back office is the key to making an informed decision. However, it can be challenging to cut through all the noise. That’s why we’ve created a simple breakdown of the top advantages of accounting automation that can benefit your office.
1. Reduce Time Spent on Manual, Repetitive Tasks
When spreadsheets were introduced in corporate finance, they were lauded for the amount of time they saved professionals, especially when it came to manually computing calculations. It was as easy as inputting data and letting the program do the work for you with spreadsheets.
Technology has advanced since the dawn of VisiCalc, Lotus 1–2–3, and Excel. With accounting automation, you’re not just saving time by eliminating manual calculations. There’s so much more. Now you’re saving time sending out bills and invoices, recognizing trends, and extracting data. Accounting automation doesn’t just make managing financials easier. It makes it more efficient.
2. Leverage the Power of AI
Technology is becoming more intelligent, quite literally. AI has experienced tremendous advances in recent years and has expanded to several departments, including finance. In corporate accounting and finance, AI has been used to analyze massive amounts of data quickly and effectively.
What would typically take hours on end is processed in seconds by AI. Not to mention, while you’re making decisions based on the findings, AI helps by providing relevant recommendations based on its results. More impressively, by using natural language processing (NLP) paired with machine learning (ML), AI can understand the human intent and perform actions based on your input.
Human error is something that corporate finance has fought against since the inception of bookkeeping. Regardless of experience level, no one is infallible. AI helps to ensure that you can fix mistakes early on rather than later when it could be a significant problem-or when the error has propagated throughout your financial models. It can help you guarantee your data’s accuracy by locating and tracking inconsistencies before becoming material issues.
3. Enhance Operations on All Levels
Automation makes it possible to enhance and streamline processes across all facets of finance, from accounts receivable to auditing. Here are some of the different areas of financials that accounting automation can improve:
- Vendor Management: Free up time and resources by automating everyday supplier-oriented tasks. This level of automation includes processes from onboarding to W-9 verification.
- Collections: Classify payers, prioritize A/R worklists, and predict remittance with the touch of a button. Additionally, automate correspondence to improve and accelerate communication.
- Auditing: Evidentiary data aggregation, journal entry testing, and procurement approvals auditing can be automated to improve accuracy and ensure that all transactions are fairly stated.
- Planning: Financial planning is one of the most critical financial processes for a business. With accounting automation, treasury forecasting, DSO tracking, KPI measurements, and cash balance forecasting can be simplified and streamlined.
Any way you slice it, a technology revolution is coming to the corporate finance and accounting functions. As for the corporate back office, accounting automation is the future. That said, it’s up to you and your team to determine whether you want to get ahead of the storm or weather it out. Though we may be biased, we highly recommend that you get ahead of the storm by implementing accounting automation sooner rather than later.
Not only will accounting automation benefit your business as a whole, but it puts you in an enviable position with your competitors. While other teams may be stuck with inefficient practices, your team can leverage automation to maximize your output and productivity.
Auditoria’s SmartFlow Skills can help you achieve these goals. Designed with finance teams in mind, SmartFlow Skills combine automation with AI and machine learning to ensure that your finance team gets the most out of their efforts. SmartFlow Skills ensure that you see a positive ROI every time.
Streamline essential tasks, gain access to advanced analytics, and get more from your data with SmartFlow Skills.