Automation: the Key to Visibility in the Financial and Accounting Sector

Bhupender Singh, CEO of Intelenet Global Services, highlights how automation can save your business millions in its ability to eliminate accounting errors

The world is transforming, with next-generation technology and new digital solutions infiltrating the markets. Governments, companies and regulators are all driving and experiencing the impact of digital disruption; and for those in finance, the changes will be drastic.

Fully embracing digital change will present challenges for some parts of the finance function, but many chief enterprises are now realising that embracing next-generation automation tools gives way to exciting and innovative potential. Developments in automation and software are creating new business routes that gift financial decision makers with strategic insights that enable them to generate cost-effective business strategies. However, with technology playing an increasingly crucial role in the finance function of businesses, the roles of accountant and finance executives are being redefined. The adoption of smart technologies is creating space to focus on managing client relationships, as opposed to concentrating on the mundane task of inputting data.

The development of disruptive and innovative technologies will be the cause of a seismic shift within the finance function at all levels, with data being at the core of this change. Data will be transformed into actionable insight across the business, posing the paradox of threat and opportunity. The sector has invested in complex Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems for over a decade, and so the majority of clients don’t reflect globally over their financial performance and are reluctant to make decisions based on hard facts. Further, many businesses have reduced the size of their finance teams, resulting in a need to heighten productivity in order to drive efficiency and create real-time actionable insights. New technology can exponentially help the finance function to operate in a more agile manner, which in turn, allows for real-time and constant planning.

A key trend that is revolutionising the finance sector is the concept of ‘As-a- Service Economy’, which is driven by contemporary technology structures that create automated workflow, make actionable data and insights accessible, and eradicate repetitive work. The Finance and Accounting (F&A) function has the potential to become a pioneer of business agility with the help of the Software as a Service (SaaS) and Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) market. Employing SaaS and/or BPaaS affords benefits such as the ability to better leverage staff, processes and tools to guarantee profitable resource utilisation and in addition, it has the potential to reduce significant error. Human error is inevitable, and avoiding mistakes within data sets can’t ever be guaranteed, with examples spanning a multitude of industries. One recent example is the U.S. Department of Education having fixed a mistake in the data for its College Scorecard, which in turn, substantially inflated loan repayment rates for most colleges.

In the past, the finance sector has been burdened by a lack of transparency, which has encouraged accountants and financial executives to utilise new technology as a way to regain financial visibility and take a more holistic view of their performance. The implementation of automation and data software provides a springboard for businesses to launch exceptional productivity, implement operational efficiency and develop the ability to effectively forward plan – all of which, consequently, will result in strong business success.

Author: Dylan Jones

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