Managing everyday business from front-end jobs like customer service and product marketing to back-office functions in finance & accounting (F&A), human resources (HR), and tech support involves a lot of document processing work. Access to usable information, especially in the case of mid-sized and large organizations, is difficult, given the tons of data circulating among the various stakeholders in an organization. Another problem with data retrieved from business transactions and every day office engagement is that it is, more often than not, unstructured. Typical examples of unstructured data would be vendor invoices and customer sales orders. Without access to authentic data though, business continuity is difficult and slow.
We’ll specifically discuss document-based processes in the different core functional domains within a company like F&A and HR, and see how companies can accelerate and amp up business processes in these areas.
Finance & Accounting: when it comes to F&A, all anyone can think of is paper. This department deals with a lot of manual paperwork day-in, day-out. Manual paperwork is often error-prone and costly, and slows down business processes. But, then again, it is in the typical accounts payable and accounting operations that you can discover hidden value and insights for amping up business — you only need to look at and reengineer the way you handle document-based functions in this department.
Take the case of vendor invoicing and in general, the accounts payable operations. Every day, companies receive tons of invoices from different suppliers. These invoices come in a range of formats and document types, from multiple channels including fax, email, scan, etc. Invoices are unstructured documents, which means it takes a staff member to diligently sort through every invoice and perform data entry of each into their accounting system. This is highly time-consuming, not to mention error-prone — one incorrect or duplicate data entry could render the whole invoicing process useless, where the staff would have to re-work the invoicing steps from data entry, validation, and approval a second time before entering the invoices and data into an accounting system — that is, if the department is able to retrace and point out exactly where they went wrong the first time.
Human Resources: employee experience is one of the many critical factors determining a company’s branding in a fiercely competitive marketplace. But then again, the first step towards engaging an employee starts with onboarding. Employee pre boarding and onboarding are typical document-intensive, laborious tasks that need to be done quickly and efficiently, while making sure the employee is accorded an enthusiastic and encouraging welcome from everyone involved. How new candidates are received by management says a lot about whether they will stay put in the company in the coming years,
Customer Service: speed, efficiency, and accuracy: these are the three pillars for consistent and successful customer service. Is your company able to go beyond the usual paperwork and order processing, most of which is time-consuming & laborious, and extend service to the customer on time? It is important to note that the customer is king, and how you engage a customer will determine if you will be getting any return business — manual paperwork is not going to get you far in this case.
Quality Management: consistency and accuracy are key to quality control along business processes. Managers need to diligently oversee all tasks and functions to ensure each outcome is meeting their quality standards and a level of excellence determined by certain benchmarks. How do you accomplish that when you're working with paper? Paper easily creates functional and data silos, where the right hand doesn’t know what the left is up to. This is very common between departments — when a product life cycle takes it through the various departments in a company, it becomes very difficult to know if the outcome you carry forward from one apartment if accurate enough to be used in another departmental application. Take the case of vendor invoicing. After hours of manually processing an invoice in the accounts payable department, what is the guarantee that it can be confidently used in an accounting software without worrying about the accuracy of the data obtained from such a process? Consistent data accuracy and quality is very important when dealing with transaction documents and tallying payments against purchases. Manual paperwork rarely offers companies a steady trail of accurate business outcomes.
Field Service: field service management involves juggling employees, capital, and other company resources to engage in and get work done outside of a company’s premises. The work may involve maintenance, repair, equipment installation, etc. Scheduling, allocating, and tracking of work assignments including preparing customer invoices, all involve a lot of paperwork and back and forth manual effort. Companies have a better chance of managing resources and lowering field service costs by streamlining the entire field service management. In order to ensure correct resource allocation for the job at hand, maintain a steady inflow of talent for technical jobs, increase uptime by detecting operational shortcomings early, and generally, improve the rate of service delivery to customers, there must be a solid architecture for data integration between remote locations and the central office. This can only be accomplished by establishing an integrated, end-to-end solution.
All the aforementioned functions have one thing in common: data. Managing data ensures management of different tasks in a cohesive manner. To be able to amp up operations in these areas, organizations must manage data and the dispatch of that data very well. These are document-based functions that take up a lot of manpower resources and paperwork. Data management increases coordination between the different functional elements and departments within a company. AI-powered intelligent automation solutions enable control over data and document-based functions, thereby providing end-to-end connectivity between different functional elements. This increases visibility and control over operations.
For greater coordination and connectivity across operations, begin by automating your document-based processes. Talk to Artsyl on how you can achieve this in your accounts payable department.