"According to a survey on CFOs and finance leaders, 72% said their finance team spends more time policing expense reports than analyzing expense trends and areas of improvement."
The past year has been quite turbulent for many companies and has adversely affected their core functions. Finance & accounting departments weren't spared either. There was an increase in emphasis on modernization and digital transformation for the financial domain.
The pandemic exposed the glaring cracks in the operational efficiencies of finance teams as they worked remotely. The absence of resilience, agility, and adaptability left them vulnerable to a decrease in productivity. Only companies which had the foresight to implement automation technologies to streamline processes and digitally transform were able to resist the disruption caused by forced remote work.
That said, the advent of digital transformation in finance has been continuous and cumulative. Traditional process-oriented finance functions like transaction processing, payroll management, and accounting are now getting a new look with automation. Meanwhile, some of the traditional tools of the trade, like spreadsheets, ERP systems, ledgers, etc., are being augmented or replaced by RPA, OCR, ML, and AI bots. These technologies have also empowered companies to identify processes that lack efficiencies and can be improved through automation.
However, the real challenge lies in facilitating finance & accounting process efficiency while ensuring the human workforce and automation technologies work in tandem to improve operational ROI.
Finance & Accounting operations that can benefit from improved efficiency through Process Orchestration
Here's a list of use cases in banking, most suitable for digital transformation:
- Invoice Processing: Manual processing of invoices is fraught with challenges like human errors, missing data, duplicate invoices, data discrepancies, and even fraud, affecting cash flow. The process expends a lot of time and labor, taking up employee's attention. But automating this process makes it smoother and quicker, prevents delays, ensures accuracy and regulatory compliance. It also exposes liabilities to aid in quicker approval of invoices with increased visibility.
- Vendor Relationship Management: A successful vendor relationship can be a crucial business advantage. However, the biggest liability in this process is proper vendor data handling. Sorting through the wide array of information available on multiple vendors for multiple projects across ERPs and other F&A systems can cause data silos, increasing the possibility of unnecessary risk. But centralizing data storage with a management tool can make it easier to onboard vendors, meet SLAs, monitor KPIs, perform due diligence, risk analysis, and risk assessment with better transparency and governance.
- General Ledger Accounting & Reconciliation: General ledgers (GL) help companies track and record their inflow and outflow of cash. GLs today contain too much data, with too many people making changes, while some continue to remain siloed due to multiple acquisitions. Reconciliations are also a pain point owing to the scrutiny it requires and the time it takes. Yet, despite the meticulous checking, oversights and mistakes do happen. Automating this process can reduce the effort and time that goes into data entry; increase accuracy in extracting and entering data while minimizing the accounting management cost.
- Purchase Order Management: Drawn-out, manual purchase order processing can cause some serious bottlenecks in a company's business ecosystem due to tight deadlines. Companies often use emails, paper-based filing systems, and spreadsheets for this process, increasing processing times and delays. Snags can occur at any level in this multi-stage process from human interventions, cumbersome emails, and other technical troubles. But optimizing this process with a lite business process management tool can increase efficiency, speed and provide an overall performance upgrade.
- Inter-company Accounting: It is a labor and data-intensive process that is susceptible to errors, consumes plenty of time, resources, and employee attention. Moreover, the lack of visibility across the business ecosystem, use of diverse technologies and systems, spreadsheets, accruals, and the ever-changing company policies, especially during a merger or acquisition, hamper this process. Hence, it gives rise to extended closing cycle times. But a centralized platform that streamlines the flow of data can provide visibility into all intercompany transactions and simplify this process.
- Payment Processing: Delayed or missed payments cause rocky vendor relationships, adversely impacting businesses with increased delivery time, slower replies, poorer quality of supplies, and even trigger severed ties. So, for a smooth business operation, it is important to properly coordinate this process. But major roadblocks like fallible manual processes, unwieldy legacy systems, compliance difficulties, and so on hinder operations. In this context, an agile workflow management tool can systematize this process with SOPs in case of exceptions, faster processing times, and quicker TATs.
- Integration of new-age technologies with legacy systems: It is no secret that core finance processes still depend on legacy systems like ERPs and FRMs, while focus on digital transformation is pushing them to look beyond the status quo. The pandemic has made organizations realize the importance of resilience in operations and has caused a dramatic shift in the general attitude towards technology. Except, compatibility remains a huge concern. Organizations need innovative technologies that can be integrated on top of their existing legacy systems. Deploying a technology-agnostic platform is the answer to this stifling predicament.
- Intelligent Automation in Finance & Accounting: Automation in finance is moving from being primarily process-centric to more of a decision-enabler. But despite their efficiency, bot technologies lack human judgment and are vulnerable to exceptions. Furthermore, organizations have trouble deciding on the right technology for automating the right process. More drawbacks include ineffective governance, suboptimal work handoffs between humans and bots, poor exception handling, incompatibility with other bot vendors, and lack of scalability - all of which contribute to the underperformance of intelligent automation.
A versatile process orchestration platform is an apt solution to address the above-mentioned problems.
About Enate's Process Orchestration
Enate's Process Orchestration platform blends BPM, Work Management, and Lite Workflow to run lean, well-managed processes against an optimally utilized team of humans or bots. Enate's no-code SaaS technology can be deployed in a few weeks. It can reduce processing times by 80 percent and cut back on end-to-end cycle times by 70 percent, thus enabling maximum resource utilization, boosting productivity, and fine-tuning process management.
It also features cutting-edge case management, ticket management, email management, and workforce management.
How Enate's Robotic Process Orchestration handles the aforementioned processes in Finance & Accounting
- Invoice Processing: The platform automates invoice processing through the end-to-end service cycle. It directly gathers invoice requests from inbound channels such as FTPs, emails, mobile, upstream systems, etc., breaks up the process into activities to assign to individuals, assists them with data entry, and assures conformity to high industry standards. It also supports bulk invoice generation and imparts visibility throughout the process cycle.
- Vendor Relationship Management: Enate sits as a layer on top of your existing vendor management systems. It channels all incoming vendor-related requests from multiple sources and creates actionable tasks, which are assigned to appropriate teams and resources. Humans or digital workers then can carry out these required activities in the underlying target systems and report back with the updates. Enate acts as a central hub, giving you full governance and control over your vendor support operations.
- General Ledger Accounting & Reconciliation: Process orchestration unites all your ledger accounting systems and processes into one platform offering end-to-end visibility and transparency. It enables all stakeholders to have a clear view of operations, keeping everyone in the loop. Enate structures GL process by recording every transaction with an audit trail. It supplies 4 types of reports – Operational, Productivity & Utilization, Automation Potential, and Custom reports furnishing insights on the key metrics. Robust MIS reporting is within Enate's capacity too.
- Purchase Order Management: The platform can deliver operational excellence in this process by eliminating paper, clumsy emails, spreadsheets, etc., and replacing them with customizable digital forms. Enate flawlessly integrates with your existing purchase order automation platforms and promotes human-in-the-loop to make approvals easier. Based on the volumes of order requests, you can scale up or down almost instantly, cutting back on operational costs. Thus, Enate drives holistic development.
- Inter-company Accounting: Enate can standardize accounting operations by ensuring adherence to all company policies and standards, simplifying the technology stack, and maintaining a core database. It also adeptly redresses data and information silos in this process to ascertain the smooth flow of data between departments, guaranteeing ease of operation. Enate plays a key role in avoiding errors, data discrepancies and fast-tracks the process with minimal manual effort.
- Payment Processing: Process orchestration can transform payment processing with seamless work handoffs and SLA prioritization. In case of an exception, the system automatically hands it off to a human for resolution, namely a rejected payment, preventing starting over. Enate also keeps track of deadlines by prioritizing important and urgent SLAs, averting delays, and minimizing TATs, AHTs. Plus, you can even build your complex processes on Enate and hone them on our task-based design framework.
- Integration of new-age technologies with legacy systems: Enate is a technology-agnostic platform that can be integrated on top of existing legacy systems. It can be set up in a few months and requires little to no coding knowledge. Enate can be introduced into your work cycle without making extensive changes to your core processes. It merely upgrades your processes to increase efficiency in operations and enhance workforce productivity.
- Intelligent Automation Finance & Accounting: Enate centralizes human-bot governance, renders multi-vendor bot compatibility, and improves exception handling. It provides information on the activities most suitable for automation along with the technology type and the savings potential, presenting you with a personalized automation roadmap.
Wondering if Enate's Process Orchestration platform is the right fit for you?
If you are looking to boost operational efficiencies in your finance & accounting processes, then deploying Enate will be the best course of action. We offer a game-changing platform that is tailored to your business needs and can supercharge your existing systems and processes.
Download Enate's whitepaper: Improving Operational Efficiency in Finance & Accounting through Process Orchestration to know more!
Enate is a UK-based enterprise software company. Its Process Orchestration technology combines lightweight Workflow, BPM & work management into a no-code quick SaaS offering. The technology delivers end-to-end process automation by connecting human workers & digital bots (RPA, OCR, AI/ML, etc.) into one hybrid workforce and managing operations across them.
The platform enables organizations to save 20 to 30% operating costs by scaling automation & streamlining operations to improve efficiency. Enate manages nearly 10 million transactions annually, across users in more than 60 countries.
The platform's customers include global brands like Mizuho Bank, Capgemini, EY, Utmost (erstwhile Generali Link), and many more.