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What is finance automation?
Finance automation is the use of automation software to streamline and digitize manual processes for finance work. Finance and tax functions and practices need to be on a journey of technological transformation to avoid falling behind. Taking those first, incremental steps in your finance automation journey should be small, so you can learn to ‘walk before you run.’
How to start the thinking process to automate your financial processes & workflows?
Starting a new workflow automation process can be an arduous and daunting task if you do not have a proper plan for successful implementation. There are several things that you must do when you start to think about how to automate financial processes and workflow within your organization. They are as follows:
- Start Small – Do not think about automating all your workflows all at once. The key is to start small by identifying a workflow that is repetitive, frequent and simple. Starting small leads to big wins in the end.
- Identify Necessary Stakeholders – Once you have determined what your first projects will be, it is important to know who will be the one to automate your workflows. Who is involved? Who is in charge? These are all questions to ask yourself when thinking about starting out on your automation journey.
- Map it Out – Draw out and document a workflow diagram so you can easily explain to not only your team, but business leaders, as to what this new automated workflow will ideally look like once it has been implemented.
- Research – Look at different vendors and determine which platform will be the best suited for your team and their needs. Learn what they have to offer by scheduling demonstration calls to see what the platform looks like before you make a final buying decision.
Overall, making a specific, detailed and realistic plan is the most important part of the thinking process.
Which processes should be automated in a finance department?
By automating the core processes of your financial department, you can save your teams not only a significant amount of time but also relieve them of the stress of trying to accomplish more with less time and resources. Additionally, you can give your finance teams the peace of mind that they are staying compliant and consistent with your organization’s financial information. Below are some processes to look at when automating your finance department:
- Bookkeeping – Finance automation software tools help automate bookkeeping by mimicking human data entry. This also helps to keep your financial records organized and up to date. Because automated bookkeeping reduces errors, there’s a smaller chance that records go missing, ensuring that you will always have access to accurate, real-time data.
- Accounts Payable – Automating the accounts payable processes of your finance departments streamlines manual, routine steps such as receiving invoices, coding, routing for approval, payment and reconciliation. Through automation software, you will also have access to dashboards and analytic tools that that help you manage and diagnose any issues that might exist in your current processes.
- Invoicing & Accounts Receivable – Beyond just saving time and freeing up your accountants to work on higher value work, automating account receivables can ensure that you have predictable cash flow for your organization, which can help you stay on top of your collections process and even help lower outstanding debts.
- Tax Compliance – With increasingly complex taxation systems and the ever-changing nature of tax rules and regulations, automating tax compliance helps accountants make informed decisions. Additionally, automation enables them to mitigate potential risks by identifying compliance issues and implementing mitigation strategies to solve any issues that might arise.
- Payroll – Payroll automation includes much more than just handling direct deposits, but it also aids in tasks such as calculating tax withholdings and filing taxes to create payroll reports.
- Expense Management – Automating this task within tax and finance can ensure that you accurately track how your employees are spending, determine how to categorize employee spending and reimburse employees for any costs they incur.
Use Cases for Finance & Tax Automation
Finance and tax automation empowers users to take control of their workload by providing self-serve tools for their clients or staff, creating dynamic questionnaires that guide the user through the relevant process, legislation or standards, whilst facilitating rule-based logic and decisioning.
At Checkbox, we’ve come across six common automation use cases for finance & tax:
- Automated Financial Reports - Generate bespoke and compliant-by-design financial reports within a fraction of the time
- Expense Approvals - Guide users through expense approval requests by enabling them to self-serve and efficiently lodge expense claims
- Self-Service Knowledge – Enable your business users to self-serve bespoke advice through knowledge bases or by routing requests to financial experts
- Automated Risk Assessment - Minimize business risk across the organization at scale by automating the finance risk assessment process
- Contract Generation & Document Generation for Finance & Accounting – Reduce the amount of time spent on drafting financial documents and generate contracts in a matter of minutes and facilitate the negotiation and signing process with ease
- Forms Automation & Workflows – Capture and triage information from users and systems using dynamic, logic-driven forms to facilitate your financial and tax processes
Benefits of Finance & Tax Automation in Finance Departments
- Maximize efficiency in internal business operations: Automated solutions act as a digital front door for auditors and accountants to manage client requests and workload. This will provide professionals with better task allocation and more visibility and control over their internal business operations. This will also provide management with real and accurately tracked data to make decisions.
- Drastically reduce lost opportunities by providing 24/7 self-serve support for clients: By implementing a self-serve channel on your organization’s website, clients will be able to access full service and support 24/7 without any need to engage directly with a financial professional. This will allow organizations to capture more passive business and capture information that can be converted actively into business.
- Maximize efficiency on low margin and fixed fee work: By directing manual, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks towards tech-based solutions, auditors and accountants can free up time to focus on complex, high value tasks or building relationships with clients through meaningful advice.
- Provide value add to clients and win more work: By becoming more efficient and reputable due to faster turnaround times, organizations will provide value to both existing and new clients seeking financial services. This will increase the organization’s competitive advantage and improve customer satisfaction.
No-Code Finance Automation vs. Low-Code Finance Automation Solutions
Depending on your finance department’s needs, determining whether you need a no-code or low-code automation platform can make a significant difference in your platform decision.
Low-code automation platforms are popular amongst IT professionals who leverage basic coding - much less than traditional application development, to streamline their business workflows. Developers and programmers can use low-code platforms to build or update changes more quickly and effectively, decrease time to deployment and with significantly reduced errors. Low-code platforms are not solely dedicated to IT professionals, they are also widely used by professionals across the business with existing coding knowledge to develop business applications more easily than the traditional route.
No-code automation platforms, however, enable any user to create workflow solutions without the need for code or technical knowledge. With no-code development, those that know the business processes best, the business users, are the ones building, updating, and maintaining the workflow solutions. No-code platforms enable any accountant within your finance department to automate their workflows. Accountants can leverage their expert finance and tax knowledge to create curated workflow solutions that are effective and efficient.
Getting Started on Finance Automation with Checkbox
Checkbox empowers non-IT users to build their own automation and workflow software using no-code. Trusted by the best brands globally, Checkbox has been used by finance and tax teams to build tools that manage client inquiries, automates advice, letter and report generation and intake. Because Checkbox requires no technical knowledge and is truly no-code, this empowers finance teams to enable digital transformation in a matter of days, not months.
Checkbox is known for being the easiest to use, yet the most powerful automation platform available. Combined with our deep expertise in finance and tax automation, we are excited to demonstrate to you why the best continuously choose Checkbox and why they always succeed with us.
To get started, book a call with one of our technology consultants and determine where you can get started on your no-code automation journey.
View some of our finance automation templates below to get started on your finance automation journey:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is automation in a finance department?
Finance automation is the use of automation software to complete manual processes within finance and tax functions. It also includes the process by which auditors and accountants streamline, digitize and measure financial work.
The benefits of finance automation?
Finance automation standardizes, automates and integrates processes and tools like email and spreadsheets to manage financial data and operation efficiently by reducing data loss and human errors. Finance automation effectively minimizes mistakes, improves collaboration amongst finance team members and increases the overall productivity of the department by allowing accounts to focus on high-value work.
Why use Checkbox to automate your finance department?
Checkbox empowers business functions to automate their tedious, manual processes and streamline their service delivery. Because Checkbox requires no technical knowledge and is truly no-code, this empowers finance teams to enable digital transformation in a matter of days, not months.