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Finance automation

Tools & Tips

Finance automation: What is it, and how do you get started?

In the modern business, repetitive manual tasks are a thing of the past. Finance automation solutions are here to boost your productivity and operational efficiency, saving valuable time and resources for your finance team.

Previously, tasks such as invoicing, bookkeeping and tax management took up hours, even days of your employees’ time. Now, they can be completed in mere minutes – all thanks to finance automation.

In this article, we’ll cover what finance automation is, which processes it can automate and the benefits finance automation solutions bring to your business.

What is finance automation?

Finance automation refers to the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate various financial tasks and processes that would otherwise be performed manually.

Such tools are known as finance automation solutions. Their purpose is to enable businesses to perform a wide range of traditionally manual activities faster, cheaper and with fewer errors. Examples of such activities include invoicing and bookkeeping, and even more advanced functions like financial planning, analysis and reporting.

By automating manual tasks and processes, businesses are able to increase their operational efficiency and free up human resources for more strategic tasks – and this makes finance automation a valuable asset to companies of all sizes.

Which financial processes can be automated?

If you haven’t yet implemented finance automation in your business, you might be surprised to learn just how many financial activities can be automated.

Here’s an overview of some of the most important financial tasks and processes you can automate with a finance automation solution:

Accounts Receivable (AR) and Accounts Payable (AP)

With a finance automation solution, you can automate invoicing, payment collection and vendor payment processing. You can also use software to automatically match purchase orders with invoices and receipts. These features allow you to free up your AR and AP teams for more high-value tasks.

Bookkeeping and accounting

A finance automation solution allows you to record and reconcile financial transactions. It can also generate financial statements and reports automatically, saving your team the headache of creating each one manually.

Payroll

With finance automation, you can automate the calculation and distribution of employee salaries, taxes and benefits. Not only does this save you time and resources: it also ensures compliance with tax laws and regulations.

Expense management

One of the major perks of finance automation is that you can automate the process of submitting, approving and reimbursing employee expenses. Automating this process saves time and ensures that your employees don’t have to wait to be reimbursed – an important aspect of maintaining good internal relationships.

Financial planning and analysis

With a finance automation solution, you can automate budgeting, forecasting and financial modelling. Using advanced analytics, the solution gives you access to the data you need, provides insights and supports better decision making on financial and strategic activities.

Tax compliance

Finance automation allows you to automate the preparation and filing of tax returns. This helps ensure that your tax returns are accurate and comply with changing tax regulations – a significant advantage for companies of all sizes.

The benefits: What finance automation brings to your business

As you can see above, finance automation can be used to automate a wide range of financial tasks and processes. This automation also comes with a list of benefits – and it’s far from short.

Here are seven of the most valuable benefits to implementing a finance automation solution in your business:

1. Increased efficiency

Finance automation significantly reduces the time required to complete routine tasks. In the past, processes like data entry, invoice processing and reconciliation took hours, or even days to complete. Now, they can be completed in just a few minutes.

This also means that the employees whose time would previously be held up by manual tasks can now dedicate their time to more strategic, valuable activities – and that benefits everyone.

2. Reduced errors

Manual data entry is prone to errors – and errors can be costly. A finance automation solution removes the need for manual entry, reducing errors and ensuring accuracy in your financial records.

Through standardised processes, automation also maintains the integrity of financial data, reducing discrepancies and ensuring consistency.

3. Cost savings

Because automation reduces the need for extensive manual labour, it can also lower the payroll and administrative costs for your business.

With finance automation, financial tasks and processes can be completed faster, with greater accuracy and using fewer resources – all of which lead to cost savings.

4. Improved compliance

A finance automation solution can be programmed to comply with the latest regulations, which reduces the risk of non-compliance and the associated penalties.

Automation also creates comprehensive audit trails. This makes it easier to track and verify transactions and ensure transparency and accountability.

5. Better decision making

With finance automation, you don’t have to worry about being out of sync: automation provides real-time access to financial data, keeping you up to date at all times.

By leveraging AI and machine learning, finance automation solutions analyse large volumes of data to identify trends, forecast future performance and support strategic planning. All of these benefits allow you to make better, more informed decisions in a timely manner.

6. Enhanced customer and vendor relationships

One of the things that can quickly become an issue in a professional relationship is failing to pay invoices on time. With finance automation, however, late payments are a thing of the past.

Automation ensures timely payment processing. This helps you strengthen your relationships with vendors and avoid late payments and penalties. Efficient and accurate billing processes also enhance the customer experience, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

7. Better cash flow management

Automation speeds up your invoicing and payment processing, leading to quicker collections and improved cash flow.

Finance automation solutions also provide better visibility into your cash flow patterns, making it easier for your business to more effectively manage your liquidity.

How to choose the right finance automation solution for your business

There are many finance automation solutions on the market – but not all solutions are the right fit for your business.

Here are some key elements to consider when choosing your finance automation solution:

  • Business needs: Do you need a solution for basic invoicing, or are you looking for additional features such as expense management or recurring billing? Determine your specific business needs before you settle on a solution.
  • Ease of use: An intuitive solution saves you time and reduces the learning curve. Choose a solution that’s easy to use – and preferably one that’s accessible across different platforms and devices.
  • Integration potential: Without the right integrations, you may not get the value from the finance automation solution that you’re looking for. Look for a solution that integrates with your existing software – e.g. your CRM system – for a seamless workflow.
  • Security and support: It’s important to protect financial information and sensitive data. Verify the software’s security measures before settling on a solution.
  • Budget and value: It’s important that you get the value you seek for your investment. Compare the pricing model with the value and features offered by the solution and evaluate the cost against the potential benefits.

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