When it comes to finance and accounting, many companies still rely on manual tasks for routine processes — for example, calculating an amount due in a spreadsheet or manually generating purchase orders in a word processing program.
Manual inputs — or doing things the way they’ve always been done — can create a false sense of security that team members follow procedures as expected and that what they're doing is accurate.
But the reality is, one accidental number flip or a single cell deletion can send your employees down a rabbit hole sleuthing into what went wrong. That leads to lost time and productivity, and sometimes lost revenue.
And unfortunately, many industry accounting teams have experienced budget and staff cuts, meaning they have fewer people to do required tasks.
So how can you standardize workflows and improve efficiencies with fewer resources while still decreasing chances for human error and completing repetitive (and often time-consuming) manual tasks?
Look no further than robotic processes automation (RBA) within your business management software (BMS) solution.
Did you know? 55% of respondents in a survey conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) expect automated accounting systems to have a significant impact on businesses in the next three to 10 years.
Here are 7 finance-related tasks you can easily automate with a BMS:
Credit checks and payment approvals
Business management software integrates directly with your core operational applications and processes including sales, accounting, and inventory.
With an accounting component included in your BMS, you can track all of your sales from initial lead to order to payment and even shipping and receiving.
In manufacturing, for example, you can use your BMS to see current accounts receivable balances. If your customer has credit issues, you can automate tasks to prevent a new order from processing and even communicate directly with your sales team for instant follow-up and resolution.
Once resolved, a BMS can automatically complete the purchase order and facilitate the next steps in your order management processes.
You can also use your BMS to automate payment processing directly related to system events, including point-of-sale (POS) transactions.
Accurate contact information
Email addresses change. Phone numbers change. Customers move. It’s challenging to keep up with current, accurate contact information, especially if your customer relationship management (CRM) tool is separate from the rest of your business processes.
Bad contact data makes it increasingly difficult to process payments and deliveries, ultimately making your customers unhappy and potentially costing you money.
You can use a BMS to automate contact information tasks. For example, if your customer updates an email address in your sales portal, your BMS can be configured to update that same information across all of your core operational systems.
Task management is one of the most time-consuming components of day-to-day operations. Do you have orders to process? Sales leads to follow up on? Shipments to send? Invoices to process?
A quality BMS should include calendar and event scheduling. This enables you to see all of your upcoming transactional-related events. Your BMS should also include email and text reminder notifications for unusual or urgent matters requiring your attention.
Business management software should also come preconfigured with filtering options that enable you to see everything from the big picture of all your upcoming events to specific events directly related to a particular business contact or customer.
Pending payment inquiries
How many times in business have you experienced this scenario?
The phone rings. The vendor on the other end says the company delivered your last order, but has not received payment. When will payment arrive?
Next, you check your email. There’s a message from a customer saying payment was made weeks ago, but they haven’t received your product.
How do you know if that customer sent the payment or if your team facilitated payment to your vendor?
A BMS solution will give you accurate, immediate insight into when payments process, when to expect delivery, and any issues along the way.
The great thing about automating this process is your team can check statuses at any time, note where there are issues, and facilitate communication with your vendors and customers before they get frustrated with you.
Timely, automated payments with visibility means happier customers and suppliers, and ultimately reduced stress and headaches for your team.
Ensuring your company meets all compliance and regulatory standards can be a daunting task — whether that’s responding to an external audit or an internal one.
How do you know if everyone on your team follows required standardized processes? Without task automating, that’s difficult, but with a BMS you can automate many compliance and regulatory tasks to ensure they’re following appropriate procedures and reduce the potential for human error.
You can also use your BMS to automate reports and analytics to more quickly prepare for your next audit.
Automated, accurate quoting and sales processes
Even in a mobile, digital-friendly company, many processes and work functions remain siloed across teams and in disparate software. That means if your company makes an important change, for example, updates product pricing, someone (or multiple team members) must take on the task of updating the new pricing model across all of your applications.
When that data is stored in a spreadsheet that lives on multiple hard drives or there are multiple copies of that file stored in the cloud, how can you do this efficiently and ensure everyone is working off the same numbers?
A BMS can simplify your pricing processes by using automated rate cards. One change on the rate card in one connected system means that information is automatically updated in another. This helps your team provide timely, accurate quotes. It eliminates pricing confusion and also the chance for mistakes.
And your sales team members will love that they can use those pricing modules to determine real-time commissions based on your company’s policies.
BMS for bookkeeping
Are you drowning in spreadsheets? Do you still have a calculator with ticker tape rolling off your desk and onto the floor?
Bookkeeping is critical to ensuring operational success, but manual data entry means you’re likely working harder rather than smarter.
A BMS can automate your bookkeeping tasks by pulling appropriate financial information from multiple sources across your business into a single, easy-to-understand dashboard. The dashboard gives you near real-time insight into your big financial picture and you can explore it down to a granular level.
Automating your bookkeeping tasks reduces not just the chance for error, but also reduces fraud risk, helping to keep your business safe and your employees accountable.
Are you ready to help your team focus on high priority financial tasks while automation takes care of the routine, repetitive ones? Join our upcoming webinar on March 17, 2020, to learn more about using BMS to automate recurring transactions. Register for the webinar or check out our schedule of upcoming webinars.