As the speed of business increases, so does the need to provide detailed reporting. Thankfully, the office of finance, with the CFO at the helm, is poised to deliver those metrics. Once relegated to basic, repetitive number crunching, finance and accounting professionals are moving into the limelight in a big way. In this digital age, data-driven decisions can make or break a company, and our blog covers how F&A can help boost the entire company’s growth when RPA is implemented throughout their processes.
Hire With An Analytical Eye
Let’s start by dispelling a myth. Though the office of finance has a long-held reputation for number crunching and spreadsheet-savvy, this is also a department of highly skilled resources. Furthermore, as the need for analytics has grown, more new hires are arriving with an analytical background1. Supported by this shifting focus, data should be used to augment human intelligence, not replace it.
When F&A teams are comprised of experienced accountants with an analytical focus, they can uncover and provide metrics for business performance. The Record to Report (R2R) process already gathers the data, now it’s time to analyze it. Companies are always on the lookout for ways to mitigate their financial risk and gaining greater visibility into their own opportunities and challenges with analysis is incredibly helpful.
Bring in the Robots
Now, you may be wondering, where are these talented financial professionals finding the time to complete their detailed analyses, if they still have required reconciliations, budgets, etc. to complete? Here is where we bring in the robots—specifically RPA.
With automation, you have more time for analysis because the robots are doing those repetitive tasks for you. As well, your analytics are not static, so you have real-time data throughout the reporting period that changes with your process. RPA is designed to automate manual tasks that eat up the time of highly-skilled F&A teams, enabling them to focus on value-added tasks.
With an automated process, one finance team reduced its time spent preparing quarterly reports from 13 days to less than 15 minutes and the company’s audited compliance gaps dropped by 80%. Ultimately, automating saved more than 2,000 hours of employee labor2.
With the built-in speed and visibility of an automated solution powered by RPA, F&A teams can easily stretch their analytical offerings across the company3. From the CFO’s high-level impact on the organizational strategy to department-specific metrics, the data gathered and analyzed by the office of finance’s skilled team opens a myriad of opportunities.
The finance department is no longer siloed and separated from the larger company as it has been traditionally. Long gone are the days where the role of the CFO was simply focused on money as more than 40% of a CFO’s time is spent on non-finance issues more related to the overall business4.
Focus on the Finance
Before we get too far ahead, it’s important to take a closer look at the office of finance’s own analytical automation benefits. Everyone knows about the required reporting for compliance activities, but F&A has specific KPIs they want to tackle with data analytics.
The strength of a finance and accounting team is measured by their ability to close the books effectively and efficiently, through reliable financial statements. An automated close process removes the long hours spent on repetitive tasks, improving the team’s metrics. Additionally, finance teams do not enjoy repeating mistakes when they have cold, hard numbers at hand. The ability to conduct variance analysis on their processes give greater visibility into issues and opportunities for change—two more metrics improved.
All of the benefits that the office of finance wants to realize internally—as well as provide to the greater organization can be boiled down to advanced reporting capabilities from their own data. An automated solution is not a lever pulled at the end of the reporting period to spit out a final tally. True financial automation sits within the R2R process, working through the messy numbers and providing visibility and reporting into the key issues of the business.
To learn more about opportunities for advanced reporting, check out our solution.
Written by: Chelsea Downey