finance process automation

How To Free Up The Time Of Your Finance Team: 5 Easy Wins

7 January

Jamie Allen

In this week’s article, we will explore five different aspects to set finance process automation of your business. By doing so, you can relieve your finance team of mundane and repetitive tasks, freeing up their time to focus on more value-adding activities. This can ultimately boost morale and improve efficiency, allowing your business to operate in real-time.

1.     Document scanning tools: purchase invoice processing

There are many applications in the marketplace which use OCR technology and algorithms to read documents and extract information for you. Tools such as Basecone and Receipt Bank assign each company a unique email address which can be used to easily upload purchase invoices into your company’s digital inbox without the need to print or scan paperwork. With a combination of the OCR technology allowing the system to read and extract data from your invoices, as well as the ability to set up specific posting rules – processing invoices doesn’t have to involve any manual data entry at all. Even better, some of these systems such as Basecone will populate the booking for you upon upload and you can post the invoices in bulk using a validation screen where you can check everything has been populated correctly before submitting.

2.     Mobile apps: Employee expense processing

Within the app marketplace, there are plenty of options which allow your employees to simply snap photos on their phones and have invoices and expense reports automatically handled, with no need to keep receipts or manually enter information. Not only does this free-up time for your employees as they no longer will need to fill out Excel/manual expense claims; it will also automate the process for your finance team who will process these claims. Depending on what type of expenses you usually have as a business (private payments or business cards) there are certain cloud-based apps that will be available to optimise your expense management using automatic expense categorisation, receipt capture, as well as company cards and authorisation procedures.

3.     Automatic Bank Links: daily uploads and reconciliations

The introduction of open banking has allowed a rich ecosystem of authorised apps and products to integrate with your bank account and extract bank data directly into your accounting system. This means that members of your finance team will no longer need direct access to your bank account to download statements manually as they will be delivered automatically into your accounting system ready to be posted. Accounting software’s that provide this service include Xero, Twinfield and QuickBooks – depending on your bank account type. Advanced accounting applications can also save you a huge amount of time by helping with the reconciliation process by automatically matching bank lines to outstanding invoices as well as intuitively learning specific posting rules over time. The bank reconciliation process becomes more of a review exercise rather than a manual data entry task.

4.     Bulk supplier payments

Paying your suppliers can prove to be a hugely admin heavy task, especially when you have many different suppliers. Creating batch payment files from within your accounting system can be a huge time saver and will also reduce human error when setting up payments. Modern accounting systems, such as Twinfield, will allow you to carry out a payment run that can include all outstanding invoices, invoices due within a certain number of days or even a certain group of suppliers depending on how it has been set up in the system. Once you are happy with the payments that have been selected in the payment run the system will allow you to create a BACs file that can be uploaded directly into your online banking and can even automatically send out remittance slips to all suppliers that are due to be paid.

5.     Real-time Reporting tools: producing management accounts

Finance teams that still use Excel may worry that their management reporting is too unique to replicate within a reporting app, however, by investing in the right technology it will certainly pay off in the long run not only in time-saved by also the timeliness, accuracy and value of the reports produced. Producing a set of accounts within Excel can prove to be tedious and error-prone which can lead to inaccuracies and unreliable reporting. Many innovative reporting tools provide complete flexibility in the set-up and integrate seamlessly with your accounting package to provide real-time financial reporting as well as analytics that can help you make those important business decisions. By expecting your finance team to produce a set of management accounts on a monthly/quarterly basis manually within Excel, you are taking your valuable resources away from more value-adding activities such as strategising, budgeting and forecasting.

The app marketplace is constantly advancing and there are plenty of choices when it comes to automating processes within your business. At 4PointZero, we pride ourselves on keeping up to date with the latest advances and help our clients select and implement systems that will streamline their business processes.

If you want to find out more, contact us

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the benefits of implementing finance process automation?

Implementing finance process automation can lead to several benefits, including increased operational efficiency, reduced human errors, faster processing times, better compliance with regulations, improved data accuracy, and the ability to focus human resources on more strategic tasks.

Which financial processes can be automated?

Finance process automation can be applied to a wide range of processes such as accounts payable and receivable, invoice processing, expense management, financial reporting, reconciliation, budgeting, and payroll processing.

What technologies are used in finance process automation?

Various technologies are utilized, including robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, data analytics, and workflow management systems. These technologies enable the automation of repetitive and rule-based tasks.

Is finance process automation suitable for small businesses?

Yes, finance process automation can benefit businesses of all sizes. While larger enterprises might have more complex processes to automate, small businesses can also benefit by automating tasks like invoice processing, expense tracking, and payroll, leading to improved efficiency and cost savings.

What security considerations are there for finance process automation?

Security is essential when implementing finance process automation. Choose reputable and secure software vendors, ensure data encryption, access controls, and regular audits. Monitor and update the automation systems to protect sensitive financial information from potential breaches.

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