With rising pressure to do more with less, practically all business units are now asked to work more agilely to improve efficiency – and finance department is no exception. Finance is an essential aspect of every business but is mainly reliant on a large number of time-consuming manual operations. Automation in the finance department is no longer a bonus feature for companies; instead, it has become a necessity to supersede error-prone manual finance tasks. To succeed in today's competitive environment, finance professionals should seek to collaborate with critical strategic business partners to find ways to modernize and digitize tasks and processes wherever possible, leveraging knowledge from those who perform these tasks day-in, day-out. With this in mind, let’s take a look at core finance processes that businesses need to automate.
Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A)
Budgeting, management reporting and forecasting are vital processes that allow a company to make informed business decisions based on accurate and timely financial statistics. Instead of financial analysis and strategic planning, the FP&A department generally spends an inordinate amount of time gathering, aggregating, and formatting data. Automating these repetitive data-related operations will enable finance professionals to focus on higher-value work.
Cash management is a critical treasury activity that ensures organizations have enough cash on hand to maintain operations. Cash reconciliation and reporting processes, in particular, are necessary to comprehend the current cash position instantly by reconciling consolidated bank account balances to cash reported on the balance sheet. Moreover, every accountant's month-end is unusually chaotic since they need to reconcile the company’s bank statements. Automating the reconciliation process ensures correctness and focuses on the entries that need to be addressed. Rather than wasting time in matching every transaction manually, businesses may speed up the process and devise strategic measures to correct the incorrect balance-sheet entries as well as to make better use of limited financial resources.
Whether it is a start-up, SME, or large enterprise, payroll execution and management are critical tasks for any firm. With traditional, time-consuming approaches, finance and HR teams struggle to manage payroll efficiently. Businesses can handle end-to-end payroll processing that includes salary disbursement and the payment of statutory dues from a single dashboard with the help of smart payroll automation software. Furthermore, the automation software serves as a self-service platform for employees, deducting taxes based on their tax regime of choice and providing access to their payslips.
Managing and tracking company expenses has traditionally been one of the most time-consuming and frustrating finance processes available, not to mention one of the most expensive. Unfortunately, expense management frequently entails a complex series of tasks. From employees saving receipts and filling out expense reports, management examining and approving them to an inadequate finance team reconciling everything and processing reimbursements, the entire situation is a merry-go-round of agony. Integrated expense management tools can be extremely beneficial in this regard, both in terms of automating processes and assuring that expenses are paid on time, thus notably decreasing the amount of time spent by finance department in managing company's expenses.
In the near future, automation will replace tedious, low-value, and backward-looking accounting and financial duties. This means that the finance department will devote more time to high-value, long-term business development, thus becoming a critical strategic partner for the organization in future. While most businesses are still in the early phases of adopting automation, these solutions can significantly improve functions, making them more efficient, accurate, and consistent with regulations. Investing in software to automate time-consuming financial processes is a small price to pay, especially when the benefits are so momentous.
Feel free to consult RSM UAE for a more in-depth analysis. RSM is one of the world’s leading audit, tax and advisory service networks, recognized for innovative solutions across the globe. RSM professionals can help your company undertake the granular analysis required for automating your finance processes and tasks.