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Automation and Operational Excellence as the Main CFO Focus Area

In a recent article in Accounting Today, the results of the 2017 Grant Thornton survey drilled down into the priorities of the CFO office for 2017. Survey respondents cited that the biggest obstacle in moving forward with adoption of technologies that make these priorities a reality are budget constraints and cash flow.

Automation within the finance organization provides several benefits and looking at the chart above, there is a significant connection with nearly every priority. Let’s look at a few of these.

  1. Increasing cash flow – Automation technology enables the CFO to gain full visibility into available cash. Easily see how accounts payable is functioning and the impact on cash flow.
  2. Reducing costs – Automation reduces costs in a number of areas but the largest one is people. Truly ‘doing more with less’ reallocating resources to activities that support these priorities is a huge benefit.
  3. Strategic planning – You simply cannot be successful at planning if you don’t have the data. A majority of automation tools have reporting features that support this priority.
  4. Risk management – With two-factor authentication and built-in fraud protection, automation technology like MineralTree, help you control risks when it comes to your accounts payable.
  5. Regulatory compliance – How are you ensuring you are in compliance? Workflows that force users to request and track approvals ensure you have the proper measures in place to support your compliance priorities.

Want to see how this works? Let us show you a free demo today!

Why Finance Executives Are Prioritizing Automation within Accounts Payable.

By definition, automation means to employ some automatic process to reduce human intervention. In turn, this makes automation a strategic tool to a business and it empowers individuals to do their jobs more efficiently while keeping errors to a minimum.

Businesses strive to achieve maximum growth, and in order to grow, a business must make sure its operations are scalable. Best-in-class organizations know that automation is not a “nice to have,” rather a “must have.” Often, a counter argument develops when evaluating an automated solution: “I don’t want to eliminate any staff members.

“Best-in-class organizations know that automation is not a “nice to have,” rather a “must have.”

For a business to thrive and achieve better outcomes, automation must be paired with staffers so that employees are no longer allocating 100% of the time to tasks that can be automated, and as a result, their teams are more productive.

By definition, automation means to employ some automatic process to reduce human intervention. In turn, this makes automation a strategic tool to a business and it empowers individuals to do their jobs more efficiently while keeping errors to a minimum. For a growing business, it is important to establish key benchmarks to evaluate the success of any project. Automation is a best practice for scaling and efficiency, so in the evaluation of solutions, it is important to measure the impact of the solution on employee’s time.

Automation can be best measured by the ability to:

  • Reduce occurrences of errors
  • Refine deliverability and accuracy of reports
  • Enhance visibility and accessibility of operations
  • Decrease time spent on daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks
  • Shorten decision times
  • Increase consistency and accuracy of Accounts Payable

This post is an excerpt from ‘The Strategic Advantages of AP Automation’

You can read the entire whitepaper here

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