Digitisation processes and the introduction of new technologies go hand in hand with the challenge of ridding organizations from administrative burden such as processing paper receipts. To date, we have seen financial teams making good progress in streamlining and automating processes such as payable accounts and processing invoices.
For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technologies can already recognize important information contained in documents–invoice or PO numbers, total cost of invoice, payee, date, and if the invoice is on time or overdue. This is certainly set to continue, and the financial teams are increasingly looking at how they can free up time spent on repetitive activities. Management of employee expenses is ripe for this type of transformation as much time has to be spent on managing reimbursements when the real value for accountants and financial professionals lies in managing policy controls and interpreting data.
Automating for strategic decision-making
It’s no secret that financial teams are increasingly being called upon to provide the business with more strategic support. Finance teams must stop carrying out transactional processes such as checks and audits in order to harness data and support decision-making. Automating tedious and manual accounting tasks not only releases valuable time but also increases efficiency, allowing financial professionals to focus on analysis. The YouGov poll, which revealed that 25 percent of people working in small businesses spend more than 10 hours a week working on administrative tasks within the department, further reinforces this.
Moving to systems based on AI and automated processes does not eliminate the need for skilled finance professionals. Instead, less repetitive’number crunching’ tasks are needed along with a greater emphasis on data management and interpretation. Accessing information in real-time is becoming a key consideration for many financial professionals and we are set to see paper processes dwindling with the introduction of more AI technologies.
Given the efficient way in which most organizations can now share information, re-keeping data between systems and sifting papers between departments makes little sense for financial teams. Future finance teams are agile, cross-functional, and use data to drive greater insight into the business. With accounting software becoming more user-friendly, we have seen technology evolution. Keep track of digital receipts and taxes from digital spreadsheets for recording transactions to systems that can import transactions. With all but dead paper orders and invoices, the financial service sector has many elements that AI can replace, and paper receipts are the next step.