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3/23/2018

Commercial

The top 5 processes for finance departments to digitize

Finance is the heart of an organisation.

However, many finance teams rely on inefficient, manual processes for their key tasks.

According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, the top pressures faced by AP teams include difficulty locating and managing paper, as well as processing high volumes at their current staff levels.[1]

For example, they may leave an invoice on someone’s desk and wait weeks for a signature. The invoice can get buried under a stack of paperwork or delayed if the signee is out of the office. 

The Aberdeen Group found that a single invoice can take up to 14.3 days to process when you have inefficient payment systems[2].

Finance teams also struggle with allocating and reconciling data manually. Performing these critical tasks by hand leads to errors, bank fees, and cash flow problems.

You Don’t Need to Live Like This

Automating your routine tasks can boost your efficiencies and give you on-demand access to your latest financial data. When you digitize your processes, you can:

  • Improve your cash flow
  • Provide a better client experience
  • Reduce your costs
  • Minimise errors and re-work
  • Increase productivity
  • Streamline your compliance-related tasks

The Top 5 Processes to Digitize in Finance

Digitizing your finance processes saves you time, so you can spend fewer hours on mundane admin and more time on projects that drive value for the business.

Here are five areas where you can digitize your processes and boost your finance team’s productivity:

1. Invoice management for accounts payable

If you pay invoices manually, you run the risk of errors, missed payments, late fees, and non-compliance.

Digitizing your AP processes helps you stay on top of all of your invoices. This allows you to save money, as you can send payments faster, avoid late fees, and take advantage of vendor discounts.

Also, you can view up-to-the-minute financial data from across your company. This helps you identify areas where you can cut your costs and improve your operations. The more you know about your company’s expenses, the more empowered you are to make smart financial decisions.

2. Day-to-day accounts receivable processes

Inefficient systems make it hard for you to process customer payments promptly. This can lead to cash flow problems, accidentally over-billing customers, and the inability to make accurate projections.

Digitizing your AR processes helps you:

  • Log payments as soon as they arrive, so you don’t accidentally send customers overdue notices that damage your relationships.
  • Automatically create and send invoices – saving you time and helping you get paid faster.
  • Gain insights into discrepancies so that you can address them quickly.
  • Improve your reporting, planning, and forecasting.

When Canada’s leading courier digitised their AR systems, they reduced the number of steps that it took to process a cheque by 77 percent. It used to take the company five days to process a cheque. Now, it takes just two days

3. Content and document management

If you maintain hard copies of your financial records, you know how quickly they can get out of control. When you need information, you might spend hours searching your office, filing cabinets, or an offsite storage facility for the right piece of paper.

Not having access to the information that you need – when you need it – can slow you down. According to a study by PRISM, office workers waste up to two hours each day looking for paperwork.

Content and document management helps you quickly find information, as it combines all of your digital and paper records into one system. Digitising your records can also reduce your costs, as you won’t need to pay for paper storage. According to the PRISM study, paperwork is the largest overhead expense in any organisation.

4. Forms processing

Paper forms are notorious for errors. If someone enters incorrect information, you can’t make a quick update to a paper form or non-editable PDF. Instead, you’ll need to ask the person to resubmit the form. But in today’s busy financial departments, you don’t have the time to wait for information.

Digitising your financial statements, reports, and invoices streamlines your processes. You can make all of your forms editable to get the information that you need faster and reduce re-work. You can also automate your approvals so workflows that used to take days can take just minutes.

5. Tax filing

Tax season can be the most dreaded time of the year.

If you prepare your taxes manually, you’ll spend countless hours locating files, running reports, and ensuring that everything adds up. As your company grows and your taxes become more complex, manual processes simply won’t cut it.

Digitization makes tax preparation easier by ensuring that you have the data that you need when it comes time to file. You won’t need to hunt down people for tax information, as BPA automatically locates records from across your company, validates data, and maintains audit trails.

Next Steps

Digitizing your finance processes can save you time, money, and frustration.

Just beware of any solution that only targets one specific process without considering your larger workflow. Every process has a ripple effect that impacts other areas of your company, so look for a holistic solution that addresses the root of your problems.

Your ROI will be much higher if you look at the big picture. If you use digitisation as a Band-Aid, you will waste time, overspend, and need to re-do everything later.

Discover how other Canadian finance teams are streamlining their processes and eliminating manual, repetitive tasks: Visit www.RicohChangeMakers.ca.

[1] Aberdeen Group, 2017: Best-in-class Invoice Processing Capabilities, August 2017
[2] Aberdeen Group, From the Shadows to the Forefront AP Automation and the Strategic Vision, 2013

Discover how other Canadian finance teams are streamlining their processes and eliminating manual, repetitive tasks: Visit www.RicohChangeMakers.ca.

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