The finance function of an organization is often referred to as the ‘engine room’. It may not necessarily be the attention-grabbing, high profile department, but this crucial component keeps the business running in good financial health and operating efficiently.
Technology has always had an important part to play within finance, and this has only accelerated over the course of the last few years. It has become increasingly clear that the function will only be in a position to thrive and really add value to the organization it supports by actively embracing the tools that technology can offer. Let’s take a closer look at four key ways in which technology can harness and drive improvements across the finance function.
Streamlined and intuitive payment systems
Using finance software to issue invoices, credit notes, and other documents, as well as collect vendor payments, allows organizations to benefit from a higher level of consistency, speed, and efficiency compared with manual payment processes. It is possible to use the various automated workflows within a finance system quickly and easily generate invoices, automatically forwarding them to relevant parties and tracking their status at the touch of a button.
Using automatic workflows to carry out such processes has the potential to save considerable man-hours, releasing the finance team from carrying out repetitive, manual tasks and freeing them up for more value-adding work. There is also likely to be an improvement in the error rate, as the system can accurately and consistently compile financial documents automatically. Further, it can track and chase documents from the initial generation to the final payment.
Improved accessibility and approvals
One of the most time-consuming and laborious parts of the payment process used to be waiting for the various individuals involved in the approval process to check and authorize invoices, credit notes, budgetary requests, and other important financial documents. Finance software has contributed enormously to a significant improvement in approval lead times. This software allows documents to be quickly and automatically routed to the appropriate individual for approval. In addition, it provides automated alerts and reminders to accelerate the process.
A great advantage of this technology is the functionality to set approval limits and automatic, next-step approval escalations so that there is significantly less delay in invoices or other documents moving through the various steps. In fact, the system knows who to send it to and how many steps are in the process before the final payment.
The result of this technology is often noticeably shorter payment cycles, including far fewer man-hours involved in checking authorization status and subsequently chasing approvers.
Tighter security features
Finance technology offers its users another crucial feature. This is the ability to ensure the safety and security of the often confidential and highly sensitive data held within the finance function. Technology can do this by providing features to give strict access controls to different parts of the system by role or individual, as well as the provision of visible audit trails on data views or changes within the system to combat potentially fraudulent behavior.
In addition, most finance software now offers advanced security features as standard, including automatic security updates and firewalls to better protect data integrity online.
Smarter reporting functionality
The ability to run and analyze a range of reports relating to the performance of the finance function is one of the most marked benefits of using finance technology. Most systems allow users to build and customize their own suite of reports within the software, even scheduling them to run at regular intervals for maximum convenience.
This reporting functionality is a useful way for the organization to gauge the performance of the various parts of the finance function, from invoice payment lead time to total outstanding debt and supplier/vendor performance.
Choose the right finance technology solution for your organization
There are many types of finance technology on the market. Thus, the challenge for organizations seeking a more efficient solution lies in analyzing the unique needs and requirements of their businesses and matching these to a system that can offer clear and consistent benefits. Kissflow FinOps Cloud offers finance teams a range of value-adding benefits with proven results to streamline workflows and make processes more efficient. To find out more, contact the team for a no-obligation demo.