We’ve written before about why CFOs should be looking at process automation for the future. Technology is allowing businesses to become more efficient and strategic, thus saving time and money.
This article from The Globe and Mail also summarizes the reasons why process automation is key to the CFO role: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/leadership-lab/the-changing-role-of-todays-cfo/article35893259/.
According to the article, CFOs are beginning to take a broader approach to leadership and strategic decision making, as well as looking for ways to innovate. But unless process automation is part of the consideration, CFOs won’t be able to succeed in this expanded role.
Financial systems automation can help CFOs forecast cash flow, make better use of data, and manage the risk profile more effectively — meaning you’ll be able to save money and increase productivity.
However, financial process automation is seldom as simple as “purchase a program and start automating.” If your business is looking to automate, you’ll need a strategy before you begin.
- Think about your most significant opportunities for automation.
Where does your company have the most to gain from automation? For example, employee expense management is widely seen as one of the most efficient forms of process automation. For the greatest efficiency and cost savings, and expense visibility, you would want employee expenses to be in your systems as soon as possible. And, of course, employees want them approved and paid as quickly as possible, with no lag time — difficult to achieve with paper receipts and remote working employees. You may also look at automating your invoice processing, procurement and purchasing, or your monthly close process.
- Consider Current IT Resources
Remember that any new financial process automation software is going to add more responsibility to your IT department. Having a conversation with your CIO while in the planning stages could help you see what the IT department can handle and enable you to look for software that meets your needs and theirs, thus eliminating costly back-and-forth time.
- When Budgeting, Look at the ROI
Financial process automation has a great ability to reduce costs over the long run, but of course that comes with a higher upfront payment. It can be a financial commitment that ultimately will pay for itself, but you need to know how long the pay back will take. Most automation software providers will sit down with you before purchase to do an ROI analysis. And depending on the financial process you’re automating, there could be potential to cut down on staff hours that are now unnecessary.
- Don’t Get Distracted
Financial process automation is an important step, but it’s rarely urgent and more pressing matters can often drag CFOs away from the research phase. When you do get back to it, enough time can pass that you need to start the whole process over again. Often, the benefits of process automation are seen most when you’re performing a frustrating task or when a human error has slipped through the system and created chaos. By starting the automation research process early, you can get ahead of the game and end the frustration cycle. Plus, you would have time to do proper due diligence, such as customer references.
- Get Help
A CFO doesn’t have to look at financial process automation on his or her own. Financial consulting companies, such as SHEA Global, can help you determine what software is best for your needs. Our consultants have experience with many industry standard applications and are experts at finding the right business solutions for you. We can even custom design a program if there isn’t one available that meets your needs.
Learn more about SHEA Global’s process automation solutions at SHEAGlobal.com or call 1-866-239-1113.