Technology has enormous potential to deliver business benefits. But, for one reason or another, we do not always use technology in the most effective way. What can businesses do to get more value from their technology investment?
Straightforward improvements, like moving to e-invoicing, can have a strong impact on company finances. In paper invoicing, for example; roughly 50% of the time between issuing an invoice and payment is taken up by the postal and invoice reception process. E-invoicing eliminates that inefficiency.
Improving inefficient processes
If you are looking for areas to drive efficiency, the first step is to drill down to the root causes of the inefficiency. If you are not clear on those then you run the risk of automating a bad process and magnifying that inefficiency. It is also important to look for areas where improvements might require cooperation across the siloes in the business. In procure to pay for example, in order to ensure a short invoice life cycle and payment on time, finance and procurement teams need full alignment and collaboration in setting and following consistent policies with suppliers and requestors. In order to cash, to receive payments quickly, you need 360◦ degree view from customer service to finance to reflect accurate and timely billing details to the client.
One way to identify potential improvements is to examine the relevant benchmarks. As in the invoice processing example, one can look at invoice processing cycle time to identify the priorities for e-invoicing or workflow.
Such benchmarks can be monitored throughout the transformation process to ensure that the business is making progress.
Once you have identified your own inefficiencies, intelligent automation can generate more data to be analyzed, help with root cause analysis, improve customer experience and eliminate repeated customer and vendor queries, alongside many other benefits.
To get the best from your technology in your finance transformation program, I recommend the following:
Identify and eliminate unnecessary or obsolete processes.
Optimize remaining processes for maximum efficiency.
Identify ways that intelligent automation can improve efficiency and drive further change within the business to ensure a proper customer focus.