Bhupender Singh, CEO of Intelenet Global Services, explores how automation can save millions in accounting errors and miscalculations
Digital technologies are shaping how individuals and businesses interact, operate and compete, and these seismic shifts are having a marked effect on finance departments.
Research shows that 75% of finance executives agree that digital technologies are fundamentally changing the way the finance function operates.
Advancements in software and automation are opening business avenues that can provide financial directors (FDs) with invaluable strategic insights that enable them to create cost effective business strategies. Because of this vital role technology is playing, financial directors are finding that their role is being redefined, so it is essential not to be left behind.
Partnerships with multiple vendors, distributors and enablers need to be actively management and innovation of business processes is required to work harmoniously together. For companies managing large numbers of vendors, discrepancies can sometimes fail to be picked up, and inefficiencies can be over-looked. In the long term, this can have hugely detrimental consequences for a business, and could result in significant losses for the company.
Many businesses currently work from siloed financial systems for different business processes, which makes it extremely challenging for financial directors to have a clear overview of the business’s entire financial data. Employing a fully integrated and modular architecture consolidates the information and eradicates the challenge of obtaining a transparent overview of expenditures.
One of the main trends that has revolutionised the sector is the premise of the As-a-Service Economy, which is underpinned by modern technology frameworks that eliminate repetitive work, create automated workflows, and make valuable, actionable data and insights accessible.
Using software-as-a-service (SaaS) products or business-process-as-a-service (BPaaS) products, means that businesses can better leverage staff, processes and tools to ensure productive and cost effective resource utilisation. They also reduce the margin of error and avoid embarrassing mistakes, like the Tesco accounting error to the tune of £350 million in its first-half profits.
Companies are also turning to Robotics Process Automation (RPA), which can consolidate and disseminate information and help reduce the challenges often faced when implementing new systems.
In recent years, blockchain technology has also gained traction, with its ability to simplify payment procedures and transform the finance management process. Initially employed for bitcoin transactions, the technology is now being used for other applications. Simply speaking, it offers a way to widen access for both consumers and businesses.
It is still in its infancy, but it is perfectly applicable to other financial systems. Blockchain uses a public ledger, and enables users to build permissioned, peer-to-peer networks comprised of trusted partners who control assets, and are able to issue or transfer payments that can be confirmed in seconds.
Cloud computing is also becoming increasingly popular. As market conditions continue to change, companies require fast response capabilities. One of the benefits of integrating a cloud computing model is that it can free up the CFO to focus on more strategic, decision making responsibilities.
The lack of visibility in the past has motivated financial executives to turn to digital solutions as a way to spearhead financial transparency and gain a more holistic overview of performance.
As advancements in data software and automation continue, it will increasingly provide new avenues for businesses to boost their operational efficiency and to forward plan, which in turn, will drive business growth.
Bhupender Singh is CEO of Intelenet Global Services.