Imagine your whole accounts team being replaced by robots!
Does this fill you full of dread or delight?
If you've got an image of rows of metallic robots crunching numbers as your staff line up to walk out the door, think again. These 'robots' are actually here to help your staff and take the strain of mundane, repetitive tasks with software that automates those processes over an over again without error. After all, you employed your talented team for their thinking brains and problem solving abilities, not their skills at cutting and pasting between spreadsheets.
In fact, when you chat about this in a company, it is often the accounts team themselves that say that this would be great news, whilst other departments feign mock horror.
But why are we even thinking about replacing the accounts team?
The answer is simple, robotic process automation, or software robots. Robotics and Artificial intelligence is sweeping through accounts departments bringing efficiency, increased levels of control and more importantly allowing you and your teams the freedom from being slaves to ERPs and spreadsheets.
Like all maths, Accounting can be seen as a science, but for me at its core it is a beautiful subject - more akin to poetry (or the cryptic crossword if you have to read balance sheets and P&Ls). The best companies are often run by the best accountants.
Think of it like a car journey - Does your finance team spend all their time and effort to laboriously produce a map of where you have just been? – yawn ... or are they the brains of the company, working with the driver to plot out the right route to go in the first place? Are they, like the best Sat Navs, getting real time updates and steering us around issues before they even impact us.
Often the finance team would love to be in the driver's seat, but are stuck in an endless loop of recording transactions and keeping up with regulations and rules.
Take this test to see where you sit, when I say test, is it is just one simple question ...
How much time do I or members of my finance team spend keying data into my ERP or spreadsheets for Schedules, month end, consolidations, transactions and management reporting?
If the answer is more than 10% of you or your teams time being spent manually keying in data, you need to dramatically re-think your approach. Spending this much time on a non-value adding task is sucking the life out of your businesses, and is effectively starving your business of the insight and experience it needs.
Your peers are deploying software robots to automate these manual tasks
What's more, these are robots that work 24/7 and never make a mistake - guaranteeing compliance. A human on the other hand typically makes 7% keying errors, needs time off, managing, and paying (more on this in my next blog). A Robot can collect data from any internal or external source saving you and your teams time - allowing you to focus on your real job of adding value to your business and bringing financial insight.
This is the year of the Robot, but more importantly, it is also the year of the accountant. Now you can spend time understanding your business instead of just getting data into the system.
The case studies are compelling, technology is redefining how finance teams are going to be structured. You don’t have to use a sat nav to go on a journey, you can blindly drive and hope, spending all your time reflecting on where you have been and how long it has taken, or you can take control, embrace technology, liberate your team, and plan for success.
Digital Transformation Expert