What is Finance Automation, Why Do You Need It, and How Does It Work?

There was a time in the not too distant past when nobody really asked CFO’s and finance executives how they went about doing their jobs and balancing the company’s books. While we micro-managed business functions such as product development, sales, marketing, and customer support; as long as our finance department provided us with the numbers and reports that we requested, we never really questioned them on how they came up with it. We just assumed that their day to day operations must be fully streamlined and optimized, as they simply furnished what we asked for. However, the application of technology has changed those assumptions forever, as finance departments adopt automation and digitalisation to transform their operations from transaction-based to strategic and from cost-centre to profit generation.

Finance automation is the act of digitalising and automating finance tasks and operations that are completed more efficiently and cost-effectively by software robotics and AI tools. Research conducted by McKinsey & Company has demonstrated that the implementation of technology such as ivi’s suite of e-Invoicing and AP Automation Solutions, can automate up to 45% of all finance department activities. This dramatic impact of finance automation is reflected in the Ernst & Young study where 65% of all finance leaders identified it as a priority, while according to a report from Transparency Market Research, the automation market is forecasted to achieve a compounded growth rate of over 60% annually which corresponds with a Forrester report projecting the industry growth from USD250 million in 2016, to USD2.9 billion by 2021.

It is important to note however, that automation is not here to replace finance executives but to set them free from having to complete day to day tedious, repetitive, and “soul-destroying” tasks. It is these manual, time, and cost-intensive processes that result in poor productivity, low staff morale, and high-employee turnover; while the adoption of finance automation empowers and equips them to focus on high-leveraged activities that positively impact the company’s revenues and profits.

Here are 5 examples of finance automation that every company should adopt:

1. Automated Invoicing Solutions

Adopting electronic invoicing technologies for your Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR) operations is a great first step in your finance automation journey. With Buyers and Suppliers exchanging business documents in a wide variety of document types, document and data formats, containers, and transmission channels; finance departments are unable to perform straight-through processing and instead have to manually key-in thousands of lines of invoice data daily.

ivi resolves this paint point by automatically digitalising, converting, and providing Buyers with whatever document and data format that they require from their Suppliers; as well as whatever document and data format that their Customers want; safe and secure, in any format, through any channel, worldwide!

2. Automated Purchase Order (PO) Solutions

Now that you have automated your AP and AR operations, you can take the next step and optimize your entire Purchase-to-Pay (P2P) process including the automated generation of your Purchase Orders (PO’s) and their matching to Supplier Invoices and other supporting documents. Most companies have complex and convoluted P2P processes that involve the manual creation of documents, the routing of paperwork to various departments and destinations for approval, and the physical matching of PO’s to Supplier Invoices.

ivi provides a single network and interface where financial documents are generated; data is digitalised, converted, and automatically propagated along the P2P Workflow; business rules and settings are established for data validation and verification; and P2P Operations are able to go paperless and touchless from day 1.

3. Automated Corporate Tax Solutions
Although globalization has contributed immensely to companies expanding their growth and prosperity in various markets around the world, it is a growing challenge for finance departments who have to navigate the complex tax laws and rapidly changing international busines environments. Every time tax season rolls around, finance executives need to scramble to collate, review, and assess decentralised and analogue data to ensure that each territory is compliant with local tax regulations.

No matter what territories around the world where you conduct your business, ivi ensures that you automatically fulfil all local regulatory requirements while providing you with total internal transparency. Our additional Value-Added Solutions including e-Archive and Digital Signature further enhance the legal and compliance functionality of your ERP or Finance System.

4. Automated Finance Analysis Solutions

When your procurement processes, payment reconciliation, and spend management is automated, you now have access to 100% of your financial data in order to obtain actionable insights. Unfortunately, many finance departments experience rogue spending with a lack of transparency where they cannot provide timely, meaningful, and reliable reporting figures about their company’s performance. This is where the digitalisation of data opens up exciting opportunities to apply software robotics and AI technologies to automate processes and track KPI’s such as departmental performance, account status, expenses, cash, burn, MRR, conversion rates, and human resource topics.

With ivi capturing 100% accurate data and measuring all transaction documents at both header and line-level, this allows finance departments to view all of their financial activities across multiple accounts and companies with Data Analytics Dashboards and Customisable Reports, guaranteeing that 100% of spend is under management.

5. Automated Payroll Solutions

Payroll is one of the most commonly semi-automated accounting tasks with the very nature of fixed salary payment amounts and schedules allowing you to “set it and forget it.” However, finance departments are still overwhelmed with the variety of variable expenses and benefits that they also have to manually process per employee including allowances, settlement of accounts, transportation, and business trips.

ivi’s streamlined, digitalised, and automated Travel and Business Expense processing means Employee claims are approved quicker, their reimbursement is processed earlier, and their morale and motivation is much higher, with a more simplified and effective claim process that eliminates frustrating paperwork.

Contact us to learn more about how ivi can save your finance department countless hours of wasted time and energy by automating, digitalising, and streamlining your financial processes.