You’re a busy finance manager — you have a lot on your plate at any given time, and when month-end or year-end is thrown in? Well, things get hectic. You know automating some of your workflows could be the answer, but you don’t know where to start — or maybe you just don’t know which to focus on.
Never fear; we’ve got your back.
Here are 5 reasons why you should automate your financial workflows
(and 3 workflows you should start with)
1. Save time and money
The first reason is also the most obvious: you want to save time and money.
I should say right now this doesn’t mean getting rid of staff. Instead, it means automating parts of people’s roles so you can free them up to focus on the things that need their skills most.
By freeing up FTE to focus on other work, you essentially increase your total capacity without bringing on any new staff. The upfront cost of your automation solution might at first glance seem like an additional cost, but compared to what you’re spending on staff salaries to complete the same work I promise you it is minimal.
2. Improve accuracy
There’s no way around this: processes that involve people are prone to errors. It’s human nature; we all make mistakes from time to time. Automating some of your workflows dramatically reduces the opportunities for human error.
Automation also standardises how your processes are run, meaning you don’t need to worry about duplication, process differentiation or variances in staff judgements on how to handle something.
Your business wants to grow, right? For your team, that inevitably means an increase in workload and either higher staff stress (and possibly turnover) or bringing on additional FTE. Unless you automate.
Automation allows your processes to grow with your business. That means no matter where the future takes you, you have certainty that your team can handle the growth and flourish and you can continue to support the business to make smart, data-driven decisions.
Speaking of data...
4. Better insights and forecasting
Automated processes deliver automated data and that means more reliable forecasting and better-informed decision making.
With reports available at the click of a mouse, you will never again be in a position where you have to spend hours manually producing the data your business needs to make decisions and position itself properly within the market. What more could you want?
5. On-demand support
Your solutions provider wants to see your business succeed. They’re your partner on this journey and they are there every step of the way to help make your processes more efficient, your reports more relevant, and to grow your solution with your business.
A good partner will match you with the best solution for your business needs and budget, embed themselves in your organisation to implement the product and train your staff to a high level of competency, then continue to make themselves available for you when you need them. They are your go-to and one of your team's greatest assets.
So now you have the why, what about the how?
Here are 3 processes you probably haven’t thought of automating
(and how they might work)
Automate the expense reimbursement process and take the time and hassle out of paying standard staff expenses.
A good FP&A solution provider will enable your staff to submit a standardised form for expenses, triggering an approval request to the correct approver, who can then approve it and trigger a payment instruction, all within platform.
Bonus: your staff and managers can see where things are at every step of the process.
2. Accounts Payable (AP)
Traditional AP processes are time-consuming for all involved. Automation can make them virtually painless.
Your FP&A solution should be able to pick up invoices sent as emails and automatically load them into your finance system, trigger an approval message to the appropriate manager or department, push the correct coding through to your general ledger, update the YTD values under the correct budgets, and seamlessly pay your vendor.
AP automation can save even small organisations (like many nonprofits and community groups) hundreds of hours a year.
Budget requests and approvals can be a nightmare for even the most seasoned manager or finance professional. But with automation, you can take a lot of the time and headache out of them.
Here’s how it might work:
- A team clicks a link to a standardised budget request form.
- They fill out all the fields you’ve specified (based on the information you need to know to action the request).
- They submit any evidence necessary.
- The form is submitted and automatically appears in your queue for review and approval.
- You review the request and either approve it or push it back for further info.
The benefits of automating this are manifold, including the team who needs the budget knowing where things are at every step of the way and you getting the information you need to make an informed decision up-front.
Your FP&A solution should allow you to set different processes for different levels of request, too. For instance, you might want requests of less than $1,000 to go through a relatively simple process, while requests for more than $50,000 may need a much more rigorous set of information supplied.
Make the change today
If you’re ready to gain these benefits for your organisation, get in touch with one of our expert consultants today.