In part 1 of this post series, we considered the first two steps in the tech-savvy CFO becoming a catalyst for automation. First, adopt the right mindset. In other words, focus on equipping every individual to make the highest and best use of their time. Second, ask the proper questions. Uncover key data on process redundancy, employee inefficiency, and revenue leakage, which will be critical to correcting root problems.
That’s a great start, but there’s still work to be done.
Assess the Impact of the “Status Quo”
Now that you’ve asked the proper questions in order to pinpoint areas of inefficiency, you’ll need to quantify the impact of the current situation. In other words, answer the question of what it will cost you in increased expenses and lost revenue potential to do nothing at all. This step is vitally important as it will help define your priorities, guide your project budgets, and bolster your internal case for change.
This last point can’t be overlooked because automation represents change, and change is viewed as only slightly better than contracting bubonic plague for your average accountant. In fact, famous economist, John Kenneth Galbraith, once remarked, “Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”
With that in mind, the more you consider and document the return on investment automation will provide, the more likely it is to happen. Consider utilizing the free tool from Nucleus Research. And any reputable technology consulting / software reselling firm should be able to assist you with the process as well.
Act (Get it Done!)
After the first three steps, it’s time to act. Put a plan in place, assemble an internal team, collaborate with a trusted consulting firm, and get it done as soon as possible! In a recent survey of Intacct customers, 85% confessed that they wished they had switched (i.e. automated their business) sooner. Some of the areas where our clients have seen the most significant ROI include:
1. Real-time financial reporting
- Consolidations across multiple entities
- Consolidations across multiple currencies
2. Real-time dashboards, metrics, and KPIs
3. Automated report distribution
4. Shorter, faster, more efficient closes
5. AP automation – entry, coding, approval, and payment
6. Integration with best-in-class systems (e.g. CRM, budgeting and forecasting, travel and expense management, etc.)
7. Workflow and approval processes (purchase requisitions, AP bills, timesheets, expense reports, etc.)
8. Mobile access and data entry for remote workers
It’s an exciting time to be a tech-savvy CFO! While the demands on your time and performance are growing every day, you have tremendous opportunities to automate your organization and to make your team more efficient, more strategic, more collaborative, and more fulfilled than ever.
But it’s not just going to happen. Famed martial artist, Bruce Lee, once said, “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” I challenge you to truly focus on automation and transform your organization in the process.