Future of work 4 min read

How automated processes increase visibility and reduce costs

Veronika Tondon

An enterprise spends an average of 50% of its revenues on salaries every month, leading to a limited budget for other expenses. With tight budgets, unnecessary additional expenses on redundant tasks or duplicated work (because of errors) become major liabilities.

Business is affected by multiple factors that lead to an undesirable increase in costs. For example, a paper invoice costs a business on average €11.10 to process. Whereas processing the same invoice with an automated online invoicing software costs only €4.70, as per research by e-Invoicing Basics.

On average, 22% of businesses still don’t use workflow automation tools according to a report titled The Sorry State of Digital Transformation in 2018 by Forrester. 56% of businesses, on the other hand, have begun transforming with the help of automation.

Automation, as the name suggests, let’s you do away with certain manual processes altogether. It unburdens employees from manual data entry, approval, and errors, and reduces the amount of cross-checking and editing you need to do.

As a result, you can expect faster processes with increased visibility for AR and AP management, among other benefits.

Let’s highlight the importance of automation with 5 key advantages.

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1. Increase accountability for employees

Today’s workplaces are evolving fast. Completing tasks quickly yet responsibly and adjusting on the fly can help you maintain your team’s momentum.

The process of automation makes this far easier. It shaves hours off work, helps you hit deadlines, and creates transparency in jobs, which gives an increased sense of accountability in your team.

Automation with customized software lets you streamline redundant approval flows, invoice processing, and accounts payable management tasks, and build your own organizational workflows that let you track processes in real time.

It eliminates unnecessary distractions and keeps your team focused. Even more, it helps managers gain key insights about their teams with easy access to analytics.

And with added transparency through technology, you eradicate unforeseen errors and hold team members more accountable for their work.

2. Free up employee time and resources

Manual processes consume a huge amount of time and energy. They lead to more people-power, more resources, and sometimes even more physical workspace.

For example, if you rely on paper receipt storage (rather than e-receipts), you can quickly end up with a small room full of documents.

And then there are the human resources. A team of accountants will often need to manually conduct AR & AP processes in a business. An average team of four will cost you around $10,000, plus a physical workspace, four computers, stationery, bills of electricity, and more.

On the other hand, one automated online billing software lets you easily create invoices, automate payments, and record expenses and revenue in a single dashboard. It eliminates the need for extra employees. You may just need one person to manage the entire software and communication.

3. Save time and increase productivity

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The 2020 In(Sight) report “What AI & Automation Really Mean For Work” has suggested that 54% of employees believe they could save 240 hours annually through automation. That’s 10 days a year, or two work weeks.

Which is actually a low estimate! Spendesk users, for example, save on average four days per month by automating the expense process.

This is the reason why 41% of business leaders are currently using workforce automation technology. And, 61% of business leaders believe that automation can be very easily utilized in their industry within the next 12 months.

Without it, employees are forced to invest what should be productive time in redundant manual processes. These are the same hours that could have been invested in analysis, sales, production or strategizing.

They’re happy to avoid mind-numbing monotony - and happiness is great for morale. And they’re more productive simply because they’re doing more productive work.

4. Enhance visibility over data

For a business, it’s important to understand the exact flow of their cash. A positive incoming flow of cash is a reflector of a healthy business. And excessive outgoing of cash can reflect turbulence or mismanagement inside the business.

Which is all fairly simple and obvious.

Modern automation tools give finance teams far better visibility over operational spend and other key metrics. When these processes are handled through software, data is always up to date and available when you need it.

You no longer need to wait until the end of the month to see what’s been spent. You have a dashboard with all the information waiting for you. You also tend to have better quality data, as we’ll see in the next section.

And this real-time data leads to better decision-making. Without good numbers available, you’re simply giving your best guess. But automation helps the company forecast its future based on things like money spent, expected accounts receivable and payable, and plenty more.

5. Improve quality with consistency

“Consistency facilitates replication, and replication is often the key to growth and expansion, whether it’s for the owner of a franchise or the massive global scale of companies like McDonald’s (MCD) and Starbucks (SBUX). A Big Mac tastes (pretty much) the same wherever you go, and ‘Venti Latte’ is a lingua franca in over 55 countries.” - Michael Hess

The excitement to do a new job is always high. But, doing the same task over and over again makes a task mundane. And with boredom come mistakes.

In fact, even when people are happy and motivated to do a job, there are still typically false moves along the way. “Human error” is a phrase for a reason.

But automation tools don’t get bored, and are built to execute tasks repeatedly, without any deviation along the way. So you can improve the quality of your data and reports simply by leaving the repetitive work to the machines.

Conclusion

Automation becomes more normal by the hour. But it’s nothing new. Factories and software have always incorporated automation to increase production, and this has helped economies grow and flourish.

As an organization, good automation means custom software that’s able to streamline time tracking, expense management, invoice approval, workflow management, staff management and more. Customization and automation together create processes that are compatible with the existing workflow of the organization, yet take away the strain and increase visibility.

We vouch for automation. It’s reliable, convenient and super-efficient.

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Veronika Tondon

Veronika Tandon is an Invoicing & Financial Consultant. With her 14 years of experience into the field of finance management, she have been helping businesses to manage AR & AP. Each of her writing focuses on sharing knowledge about business management.