How the CFO’s Office can benefit using Intelligent Automation
The role of the CFO has evolved from being just responsible for the Financial Function to being a strategic advisor to the business. However, in today’s environment it is observed that over 50% of the energy of a CFO is driven towards right accounting versus being a leader. This where technology using Intelligent Automation steps in. Where technology can drive efficiency, helping to give a CFO an overall view of the whole organization, enabling him/ her to be a more strategic partner.
The number one task that includes a lot of manual effort today is the financial closure process. Immediate benefits are the Digital Workers liberating employees to do end of the month high pressure activities like these.
Retention of talent: A challenge is today is retaining talent that drives the organization ahead. Having technology take away the mundane tasks for a financial employee can actually help grow the employee and hence drive employee retention.
There’s a huge amount of time employees spend on inter-company reconciliations which can easily be done by technology taking away the dissatisfaction away from timelines that are not meant or overtime hours put in by employees causing frustration and lack of job satisfaction.
The office of the CFO can focus more on collaboration, communication and driving initiatives forward impacting productivity.
ROI of 100% or more within a year.
What is Intelligent Automation and how does it hope to help here?
Application of technology in a company where employees configure a software robot to capture and interpret existing applications to process a transaction, generate responses and communicate with other systems.
Creation of a virtual workforce- a backend processing center but with no human resources. So RPA is taking the Robot out of the human.
Some Examples of application of RPA around the Finance function:
Quote to Cash:
Intelligent Automation can be used to help organizations with improving cash flows. Automation can be deployed to send invoices in time. This simultaneously leads to earlier payments and improved cash flow.
When the Invoices are received, automated responses can go out acknowledging that they have been received and are in process. Alternatively, if there is something missing and needs process the invoice.
Bank Statement Reconciliations:
Traditionally reconciliations have been done using spreadsheets, manually extracting records from Bank statements and tallying these. This can easily be automated. Digital Workers can do this process effortlessly and error-free.
Automation of Ledger- P & L:
There are several organizations (especially those in trading) that track their P & L and risk daily, relying on traditional tools to get this done. Intelligent Automation can get these tasks done with machine speed – saving employees to work towards analytics than mere reporting.
For employees spread across locations, an expense management system can work wonderfully well. An OCR capable Intelligent Automation solution can draw important fields from the receipts automatically, freeing up employees to focus on their important tasks.
A large reason for customer dissatisfaction is when refunds are delayed. Rule based automation can take care of these cases in record time and improve the company’s image.
Insurance Processing Claims: –
An insurance company’s image is heavily dependent on the manner in which claims usually get processed. Manual Claims processing pose various issues and customer dissatisfaction through inconsistent handling. A Digital worker can deal with all these issues. Defined by rules, having the capability to deal with various data formats, ensuring compliance.
Financial Services are at Different Levels of Maturity for adoption of Intelligent Automation
Most organizations initiate into RPA for streamlining internal functions to begin with. This is because there is a lower risk involved. It also helps them to achieve efficiency and accuracy.
At higher levels, Integration with Virtual Assistants to their Call Centers that are Customer Facing starts to get some attention.
Banks and Financial organizations are among the early adopters of Robotic Process Automation.
Early Challenges of Intelligent Automation with Financial Institutions| How to prepare for the transformation
The early challenges have less to do with technology and more to do with upscaling the business resources to be able to model and develop the automated process solutions with limited support from IT. Challenges with reallocation of resources, Challenges with auditing the bots, monitoring them for quality assurance. Financial institutions end up looking for consulting partners to build plans to teach their internal teams to stand on their own two feet.
If an organization could work on really understanding the RPA process, enabling their IT and Finance teams work together to reduce the risks and engage in faster execution of RPA and delivery.
The Digital Workforce is part of a toolkit that should be connected with the human intelligence to really understand where the bot can be used to add more value. Employees have to be trained to view bots as their co-workers and not competitors.
Involving IT as early as in the whole execution process. Use the technological experience early on instead of getting stuck up and then seeking help. Make sure the rules are defined early-on. Setup metrics to measure results and know how do we know we are achieving the desired outcomes.
The path to success means to be able to recognize what are we doing today, what are the challenges, look at what are the gaps are, identify the risk exposure while deploying IA and then we have to look at the Ideal state we are trying to get to. Imbibe a culture of supporting the success of this process right through.
Long Term Potential of RPA in Finance?
How do you connect RPA to more leading- edge AI capabilities, such as neural networks to achieve greater opportunities to enhance customer experience?
More time to do analytics rather than just reporting: – This frees up employees to do the real analytics and move beyond reporting. This let them truly build their business.