7 Technologies to Reduce Operational Expenditure in Finance and Accounting
by Rajesh Agarwal, on Dec 19, 2018 12:19:28 PM
Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Shrinking budgets and revenue margins mandate enterprises to consolidate their IT infrastructure and processes in order to lower the operational costs. Here, technology helps enterprises to face the issues at hand and leverage synergies within the available budget thereby reducing the annual spend.
Businesses expand operations through mergers and acquisitions. As a result, direct and indirect costs involved in functions, such as Finance and Accounting (F&A), tend to spiral on the higher side due to siloed systems, fragmented ecosystems, business practices, and processes. The resulting swivel chair operations in processes, such as invoice processing, order processing, payment follow-ups, general ledger reconciliation, etc., add to the operational costs and errors while keying in data leading to non-compliance and audit concerns.
The solution to the business conundrum
The solution is a highly agile and flexible RPA model, which is deeply integrated with OCR, workflow elements, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) layers, and can be customized as per business requirement and IT architecture. It stitches together the siloed ERPs and other business systems into a Smart Platform thereby automating tedious enterprise processes, such as Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable. The same framework can also be leveraged in part or in whole to streamline and centralize Order to Cash (O2C), Procure to Pay (P2P), and Record to Report (R2R) processes.
7 technology platforms that help reduce OpEx in F&A
Technologies that are useful in F&A
- Artificial Intelligence: It imparts greater decision making capability to the solution that helps in high precision reconciliations. It helps enterprises in extracting intelligence from high volumes of structured, unstructured, and multi-structured data from diverse sources.
- Embedded Analytics: It helps business users with visual reports and at-a-glance information such that users can work smartly with integrated operational dashboards. The solution helps users with spend analytics, accrual reports, and cash flow statements to remotely monitor the inter-linked business set-up while on the move.
- Robotic Process Automation: It automates complex processes across multiple touch points. It helps in rule-based data collection and data exchange between different ERP systems, legacy systems, and bespoke systems while performing auto-validation and auto-matching.
- Intelligent OCR: It helps to ingest data from unstructured documents, scanned documents, and images into the digital ecosystem. It uses fuzzy logic, business rules, look-up tables, and AI algorithms to help in high octane Digitization along with classification and indexation.
- Workflow Element: It serves to deeply integrate the ERP, legacy, and bespoke systems thus leveraging the concepts of e-Invoicing and e-Receivables across global offices.
- Mobility: It is essentially built using a Mobile Application Development Platform (MADP). It helps package existing applications to help business users visit their applications anytime anywhere on their handheld devices.
- Integrated payment gateways: They help in the last mile F&A integration for making or receiving payments to/from vendors or clients, respectively.
White paper on "How to reduce operational expenditure in F&A using RPA and allied technologies".
Business impact of the consolidated IT estate on F&A opex
This kind of a consolidated IT estate that is integrated together through a loose coupling architecture is a Bespoke Financial Accounting System (FAS), which is built using the existing IT components of the enterprise. This not only utilizes the IT systems and current investments but decreases the operational expenditure to a significant extent.
At a more sophisticated level, a team of bots is deployed around defined process maps, to move unstructured data through the mesh of systems, and improve Straight Through Processing without human intervention to 90%. The bots can be controlled in real-time through operational dashboards. This bridged IT ecosystem not only becomes lean but also adds value in terms of reduced operational expenditure. Through this arrangement, one bot license can be used to execute multiple processes at the same time, as well as reduce costly migration expenses.
Some RPA use cases in Finance and Accounting
Leverage Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to automate critical finance processes, eliminate the constant errors, and reduce the cycle time.