October 17, 2023
The finance sector processes massive volumes of financial data. Attention to detail and impeccable accuracy are consequently essential. Moreover, the industry is prone to errors, attacks, and compliance standard infractions. These are tasks finance automation could handle instead - relieving the burden on the human workforce and making their jobs more enjoyable.
Robotic process automation (RPA) executes several tasks for companies offering financial services. Effectively, it can run without wearing out like a human team.
In this post, we discuss what finance automation means, which finance processes automation can handle, how to pitch automation to your boss, and partnering with the right automation software expert for your project.
What is Finance Automation?
Finance automation means using technology through artificial intelligence, machine learning, and intelligent automation to manage financial processes. These processes include time-consuming and repetitive tasks like financial reporting, general ledger journal entries, procurement, and purchase orders.
The goal of financial automation is not to replace humans. Instead, it is to empower humans by reducing human intervention where errors are common. Moreover, it supports finance teams in executing manual tasks, allowing them to waste less time, streamline workflows, and focus on tasks and projects with more value.
The beauty of robotic process automation is that it can integrate with any existing systems, including enormous legacy systems like ERPs. Through this connection, a finance company can improve operational efficiency and flexibility, minimize IT costs, and enhance security. In addition, the company can improve data accuracy and integrity, reduce human error, and avoid fines from regulatory compliance infractions.
RPA and Financial Processes
In the finance sector, automation is a quick and efficient step towards digital transformation as it allows for a non-intrusive integration. This means a company can keep its existing IT infrastructure before implementation.
Automation ensures that processes are streamlined as the industry handles several repetitive and rule-based tasks. Furthermore, scalability gets better with automation. Without lagging, crashing, or compromising efficiency, it accommodates and manages several tasks and projects.
This technological advancement proves hiring more employees is often unecessary. Hiring fewer full-time employees and automating repetitive tasks is cost-effective. More so, it saves the finance industry some administrative and operational costs. Statistics reveal that 81% of companies invest in RPA to achieve financial saving goals. The three major ways it optimizes financial processes are:
Improving Efficiency: Automation solutions process data faster than humans. Consider how many withdrawals an ATM can process within a few minutes. Similarly, bots work longer than humans. Humans can only work for a fixed number of hours. Contrarily, bots can accomplish tasks around the clock, without breaks or being disturbed by their unavailability to families, friends, and pets.
Reducing Time: Through task automation, a company can save time and focus on high-impact tasks that demand human intervention. As companies maximize time, they also avoid human errors that spring from fatigue or oversight and cause security issues. Moreover, it speeds up the time needed to recover debts and increase annual revenue.
Data Collection: Automation technologies allow top-level officials to collect data for analysis. The data is vital for decision-making, finding faults, and generating solutions to bottlenecks.
Processes to Automate
The finance sector has several components where business process automation is applicable and significant. We shall examine some of them below:
The traditional approach to accounting processes has numerous constraints. To compensate for its limitations, finance businesses can automate accounting processes such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, expense management, account reconciliation, and bookkeeping.
Accounts payable activities RPA can handle for a company include paying employee salaries, subscriptions, legal fees, and contract payments. Finance companies can effectively manage expenses from application to approval and auditing. By monitoring these expenses, a company tracks spending and detects financial discrepancies.
Invoice and Claims Processing
Invoicing is crucial in generating revenue for a company and requires multiple steps and systems. If mishandled, it can result in financial struggles, especially for an insurance company. As paper-based invoices can be difficult to process or track, automation solutions digitalize the process for improved efficiency.
In addition, insurance companies can accept claim requests, verify, and authenticate them before reimbursing beneficiaries. These companies can also keep track of multiple contract statuses at once. Meanwhile, it eases data extraction from disparate systems into a company’s database to ensure that account information about every account is easy to search and migrate without wasting time.
In the past, human teams were saddled with manual processes related to managing customers’ accounts in terms of opening, upgrading, or closing accounts in the banking industry. Thanks to technology, these routine tasks can now be dedicated to bots.
Customers can now use mobile or internet banking to open bank accounts, request funds, make payments, and transfer funds. Both customers and bankers are now relieved of the stress of implementing these tasks. More so, automation creates a better user experience and keeps companies adherent to regulatory standards.
Reports and Analytics
Data gathered can be analyzed to make business decisions, determine success areas, and identify improvement areas.
With automation, reports can be directed to specific teams or individuals through different channels. Meanwhile, the company can track KPIs like cash flow, expenses, and conversion.
AI gives a financial company a bird’s eye view of its finances. This view aids a quick realization of its aims and goals. By automating processes, companies can monitor financial performance by location, period, and economic situation. To take data-informed steps, stick to a budget, and avoid future financial looms, automation tools track financial data reports and forecasts that companies can study.
Pitching Automation to Your Boss
If you see a business process in the finance department that could benefit from automation, the next step is to pitch it to your boss. However, knowing what information to share and how to present it can be tricky.
After all, the CEO and CFO will view it from a different perspective than finance professionals, IT managers, or a VP of finance or corporate development. Here are some steps to follow to pitch automation to your company leadership successfully:
Understand the Company Goals
Before pitching, review the company goals. This step is significant because even though automating a process will benefit your team, it must align with company goals before leadership can approve it.
Emphasize how automating your desired process will drive the company forward. Suppose your company is big on rendering impeccable customer service. You can pitch the use of chatbots, live chats, help desks, and tickets.
Implementing these automation features will foster a quick delivery of peerless customer service. Also, it’ll reduce the rate at which your customers choose your competitors due to delayed response time.
Research and Gather Data
Approaching your boss and pitching without hard facts, figures, and RPA track records can waste time. Dig deep into existing statistics, use cases, and real-life scenarios, and analyze how beneficial automating the target process will be to your department. To aid the acceptance of this idea, you can also prepare visual materials and links to useful resources for your boss to aid their personal research.
Outline Pain Points and Challenges
While discussing with the leadership, highlight specific challenges you encounter at your job. For instance, you can mention that you manually send reminder emails daily to defaulters of mortgage loans. Furthermore, you can discuss how this act consumes your time and prevents you from focusing on more crucial tasks. In like manner, outline generic problems an inefficient process poses on a business. Some include time loss, increased costs, and less employee motivation.
Show Potential Benefits
Communicate the tangible and intangible benefits of automation to your department and company. Ensure that these benefits are tailored to your business goals. Examples include faster processing time, better customer service, increased revenue generation, and happier employees.
Demonstrate Potential ROI
Business owners build networks and connect with investors to generate funds for their businesses and and not risk being extravagant. When you pitch automation to your boss, they want to ascertain that the investment will generate ROI.
It is helpful to develop a potential cost analysis and figures for ROI when you pitch automation. Also, outline practical ways through which ROI can be measured. They include reduced administrative or operational costs and increased annual revenue. This ROI measurement will show your boss that the process is trackable and efficient.
Starting Your Finance Automation Project
When you garner buy-in from leaders in your organization, it’s time to take the first step toward automation. Although every automation project is unique, we recommend following five basic steps to get started:
- Pick a Quick Win: To begin your automation journey, pick an automation process you can implement fast and at little cost, which will generate prompt results. For instance, you can start by automating welcome emails.
- Choose a Platform: There are tons of finance automation tools in the market to use. However, you should not choose a platform based on brand popularity or its glistening features. Instead, you should choose a platform ready to work with your finance company to create a custom automation platform for all its business processes.
- Find a Partner: Search for a proficient partner to bring your custom finance automation software to life.
- Create a Plan and Calculate ROI: Connect with your custom automation software partner to create a development plan for your company. Also, calculate how much you will generate and save for your finance company.
- Involve Stakeholders: Automation tools function independently. Nevertheless, you should ensure that a person or team monitors the operation. You can learn more about each step and what's involved in our guide, 5 Tips for Getting Started with RPA in the Financial Sector.
Partner with Experts
Regardless of your experience with business process automation, it is crucial to collaborate with experts like EnterBridge to assess your problems, suggest solutions, and manage your project from start to finish and beyond.
At EnterBridge, we specialize in helping financial companies automate their business processes for improved efficiency, cost saving, and employee satisfaction. We also help businesses create custom software. To see how we can help you implement finance automation in your business, schedule a call with us today.