Harnessing technology can help finance teams automate time consuming, repetitive or labor intensive tasks. However, many finance teams are hesitant to lean into automation – this might be due to perceived higher cost, implementation challenges, and fear of change. But ultimately, if done correctly, the transition will be worth it.
Gartner research found that automating certain financial reporting processes can save finance teams 25,000 hours of avoidable work annually. The time benefit automation unlocks provides more space for strategic thinking.
In order to implement automation effectively, finance leaders must consider three main pillars: find the right technologies; establish ongoing education and training; and ensure your organization understands the concept of and need for automation.
Find the Right Tech
In a highly digitized world, there are thousands of technologies and applications available that can streamline accounting and finance teams’ workloads. But with your focused effort on mapping a finance’s team’s needs it will be easier to identify the right solution.
Before making a decision, be sure to map out the goals of your finance team, as well as the broader organization. Understanding your goals will help you identify the most strategic areas of improvement. From there, identify the most labor intensive or error prone tasks for your team, it could be filing receipts or processing payroll or any number of repetitive activities. With this information you’ll be able to narrow down the options based on your needs. By applying due diligence and understanding the return on investment, anyone can use automation to their advantage.
Educate, Educate, Educate
We all know technology is constantly evolving. Finance teams, like many other professions, may feel like they’re playing catch-up with technological advancements and digitization options in the industry. Companies must take up the mantle and provide learning opportunities for their most experienced people and greenest recruits alike.
Many skills can be learned on the job in finance. Implement ongoing courses on futuristic trends, and hold recurring training sessions for the latest applications. By ensuring your employees are well-versed in automation’s inner workings and ethics, your organization will be well-equipped to adapt to the newest disruptive solutions.
Create a Safe Space
Automation is a tricky subject, the stigma of “automation will take our jobs” has been around as long as technology has existed, but automating work doesn’t always mean replacing your people. For most industries, automation is meant to simply enhance your team’s capabilities.
Having a proper dialogue with your team is vital for implementing any new program. From town halls to simple pulse surveys, and one on one chats, there are plenty of ways to check in with your people and hear feedback so that everyone can feel informed and involved in decision-making.
So what does success with automation look like?
Forging into unknown territory can be daunting, but early movers tend to end up miles ahead of their competition. Any finance team would benefit from more efficiency alongside a culture of open-minded innovation. Automation could be far and away one of the most transformative technologies for any organization. Approach it with the right mindset, the support of your organization, and you could reap the rewards soon.