While Chief Financial Officers are traditionally viewed as stewards and operators of corporate finance, a new age of global competition and digital innovation caused the role of the CFO to evolve, so that CFOs are increasingly viewed as strategists and catalysts for change. Increasingly, CFOs have gone from being the steady hand at the tiller to being the engine for change and innovation.
While ensuring stability and maintaining compliance may seem at odds with driving innovation and sparking change, many CFOs have embraced business process automation and digital transformation as a way to mitigate risk, while driving greater process visibility, efficiency and innovation.
Accelerating Operational Efficiency with BPA
CFOs have purview over financial planning and analysis, treasury, tax, and other finance operations. Efficiency, accuracy and reliability are key to fulfilling this mission of the finance in any organization.
Often, business process automation initiative are cost justified based on achieving greater operational efficiency, helping to support one of the most fundamental roles of a finance organization. Returns on investment derived from man hours saved on manual processes like data entry, transaction approvals and processing are easily achieved and well established for financial process automation, particularly for AP vendor invoice automation and sales order process automation.
That said, BPA projects are usually undertaken with a vision for achieving far greater goals - including delivering better insights and analysis that comes from more timely access to reliable data.
Ensuring Regulatory Compliance
CFOs work to protect the vital assets of the company, ensuring compliance with financial regulations, closing the books correctly, and communicating value and risk issues to investors and boards.
Regardless of the size of the organization or industry, regulatory compliance and risk mitigation remains high on the list of concerns for CFOs. The effort and energy that goes into maintaining, monitoring and mitigating compliance risks are huge. The pay-off can’t always be quantified as easily as achieving greater operational efficiency.
In the CFO’s role as steward, process automation delivers instant process auditability through automated process monitoring and reporting. While operational efficiency gains from process automation deliver predictable, measurable returns, mitigating potentially catastrophic losses from fraud or compliance-related penalties can result in immeasurable gains that can mean the different between success or failure for any firm.
Igniting Business Transformation
Financial operations often present one of the best business cases for process automation, resulting in innovations that can be applied to other departments and functions within an organization. In this way, CFOs can stimulate and drive change in finance and throughout the enterprise.
Using the power of their purse strings, CFOs can selectively drive business improvement initiatives such as improved enterprise cost reduction, procurement, pricing execution, and other process improvements and innovations that add value to the company.
As a result, finance can go from being viewed as a cost center to being the torch-bearer for innovation that other departments can turn to inspiration and real-life experience in innovation.
CFOs take a seat at the strategy planning table and help influence the future direction of the company. They are vital in providing financial leadership and aligning business and finance strategy to grow the business. In addition to M&A and capital market financing strategies, they can play an integral role in supporting other long-term investments of the company.
When organizations embrace business process automation throughout the enterprise, they have a broader and deeper understanding of their own operations and become far more agile when analyzing and predicting new opportunities or anticipating risks.
CFOs who are depended upon to help drive corporate strategy can leverage the benefits of business process automation to deliver more timely, accurate data that provides deeper insights and an even greater ability to drive greater efficiency and target new opportunities.
One example is sales order processing. While sales order processing initiatives are often measured based on their ability to optimize days says outstanding, most firms are motivated to automate document handling and data entry for sales orders with intelligent capture technology to quickly gather line item details for customer orders so they can analyze buying trends and customer behavior.
For more information about elevating the role of finance through business process automation, including AP invoice and Sales Order automation, visit the Artsyl Technologies Web site