Finance processes best suited for cognitive tools

As the finance function comes under increasing pressure to shrink costs, support growth and provide business insights, there is enormous potential for cognitive automation to support CFOs and finance directors in informing strategy and making suggestions in real-time.

Cognitive automation gives organisations a competitive advantage by meeting the key challenges today’s finance function faces. Here’s how:

  • It radically improves cost efficiency
  • It helps Finance remain in control of a constantly changing environment
  • It allows Finance to focus skilled resource on driving value creation for the business.

Implementing intelligent technologies allows CFOs and finance directors to easily ask questions of their data analytics to make educated decisions with confidence. But how can CFOs ensure they are implementing cognitive automation so it delivers economic success? The best results can be achieved when artificial intelligence is applied to the right processes. Finance can take full advantage of automation by allowing cognitive technology to…

  • Take the guesswork out of sales forecasts. A missed forecast can lead to low employee morale, potential job losses, weaken shareholder value and ultimately compromise the success of a company. Cognitive automation enables finance teams to make more precise predictions by collating accurate revenue forecasts in real-time to paint a clear picture of a company’s financial data.
  • Simplify invoicing. Matching incoming payments with invoices has long been a frustration for accounting teams – spending valuable time tracking down missing information and who’s paying for what. However, cognitive automation can combat this persistent headache by reading documents and searching for relevant and missing information to match payments with invoices, freeing up employees to spend time on higher-value tasks.
  • Help CFOs answer more questions in boardroom. Finance teams often say they are drowning in data but starving for information. When the board is asking questions like: “How do you plan to grow the company?” “What’s holding growth back?” “Are there any uncertainties facing the business?” and “What are the greatest areas of spend and return?” making sense of the data to answer these business-critical questions is often hopeless. Cognitive automation can solve this dilemma by turning the tsunami of data into meaningful answers the board needs.
  • Unlock unstructured data. Cognitive automation can identify underground trends impacting businesses. From unlocking rich insights from sources like social media, emails and even call-centre transcripts, artificial intelligence holds the key to helping Finance develop and scale customer-centric services to advance their competitive position.
  • Take care of continuous accounting. Finance teams no longer need to sweat the small stuff – daily accounting transactions, budgeting and compiling spreadsheet reports. Instead, cognitive automation will do the work so they can focus on providing informed insights and delivering higher-value inputs that add real benefit to the business.
  • Handle strategic risk management. Cognitive computing lends itself particularly well to risk management, as threats usually include unlikely or unclear events. Cognitive capabilities are surpassing traditional analytics to tackle massive data sets by identifying any indicators of known and unknown risks.
  • Complete sophisticated planning and forecasting. Artificial intelligence can save employees from days of historical data analysis by scanning reports and compiling results in seconds – even while employees are sleeping. Thanks to cognitive tools, Finance can respond and adjust to changes in the economy and across industries incredibly fast.
  • Meet the increasing demands of stakeholders, investors and boards. Producing corporate reports which satisfy the needs of key stakeholders in the business is critical. Cognitive tools can pull the relevant data from multiple systems to present meaningful data which helps stakeholders make informed decisions on how best to grow the business.

How ERPaaS can help

With our cognitive intelligence platform, you can:

  • Easily validate invoice data to ensure the format is compliant and consistent.
  • Answer more questions from the board with reliable and error-free data that’s been automatically validated and compliance-checked.
  • Unlock more unstructured data within emails and FAQs for analysis. Questions are then automatically answered or redirected to the appropriate department without human input.
  • Focus on higher-value tasks that demand your attention whilst automation takes care of continuous accounting.

Contact Colin King on 01463 710 816 or email info@erpaas.com today to find out how ERPaaS can drive value creation for your business.

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Four things frontline managers can do to reduce absence

Managing and reducing absence is tough. Especially when your absence policy isn’t consistently applied across the business and managers default back to approaches that ‘work for them’. We’ve listed four simple ways frontline managers can easily, accurately and speedily manage unplanned absence.

  1. Schedule return to work calls, welfare calls and reminders.
    When someone is on long-term leave, return-to-work management can be complex and costly. Implement the right processes by recording sickness absence, keeping in contact with sick employees, planning to help employees adjust to returning to work, and coordinating the return to work process to support them to stay in work.

Solution: ERPaaS eradicates the problem of paper and collates all the information to automate the steps that need to be taken for anyone returning to work.

  1. Deliver a personalised approach for every employee.
    When dealing with absence, managers need to take into consideration an employee’s specific circumstances, as well as their history. It’s important that managers don’t just default to approaches they’ve used in the past – they need to apply a policy in a way that treats employees fairly and uniquely.

Solution: The ERPaaS Absence Management Solution helps managers follow the right approach for different situations by guiding them through HR policies and accessing their records so they can make quick and fair decisions.

  1. Support employees with mental health issues.
    Mental health is a growing contributor to absence, and is costing UK businesses 91 million days a year. If you think someone is having mental health issues, try to pin-point the underlying issue to reduce the risks of any working conditions (i.e. unfair workload, bullying etc.), monitor wellbeing and follow up at the right times to help improve their welfare, performance and presenteeism.

Solution: The ERPaaS Absence Management Solution helps managers follow and manage the process to make better, more informed decisions about dealing with different mental health issues and problems.

  1. Enable staff members to report in sick on their phone.
    Implementing a self-service system for employees means they’ll be able to do more of their administration themselves – easing the burden on managers. A major advantage of enabling employees to report in sick via an app on their smartphone is it provides timely and accurate information.

Solution: Our app gives your employees 24/7 access from any device, anywhere.

10 Tips for Effectively Managing Your Business Expenses

You probably don’t love managing your expenses, but that doesn’t mean you have to hate it!

Whether you’re tired of expense management being its own unmanageable expense or whether you’re at your wit’s end with the huge pile of receipts and paperwork to be dealt with at the end of every month, these ten tips will help you whip your expense management system into shape!

1. Automate as much as possible

Why waste time on piles of paperwork or unwieldy spreadsheets when your system could deal with that for you? Automate your expense claim process and never worry about paperwork again!

2. Claim and approve from any location

Waiting until you get back to the office to make a claim can be a real hassle, and can lead to mistakes or forgotten claims. Record your claims from your mobile device as you spend and submit them immediately, enabling a faster and more accurate process.

3. Do your part – protect the environment!

If your expenses process is 100% digital, those mountains of paperwork and receipts sitting on your desk can be reduced to nothing. Save time and desk space, and save the trees – it’s the best of both worlds!

4. Keep it auditable

When it’s time to audit your expenses, what would you prefer: piles of unsorted papers, many of which are missing or incomplete, or easily searchable and consistent digital records? We know what we’d choose!

5. Stop hoarding receipts

It’s the end of the month and you’re swimming in little pieces of paper. Was this one a business expense or a personal expense? Is there something missing here? This one only has a cost on it…what was it for? Avoid this all-too-common scenario by taking a picture of your receipt, storing it in your expenses system along with the relevant info, and throwing the paper copy away. You’ll never have to wade through a pile of receipts again!

6. Avoid mistakes

“To err is human, but to persist in error is diabolical.” We’d like to think that Seneca the Younger was talking about his expenses process when he first said this! Avoid common human errors – which can be the difference between a £5,500 purchase and a £55.00 purchase – by using an expenses system that automatically validates all inputs and does most of the data entry for you.

7. Keep it simple

A simple process means less time spent training and more time spent doing!

8. Predict the future

You don’t need a time machine or a crystal ball to predict your future expenditures — by storing all claims in the same system and making them easily accessible, you can perform accurate analyses of your data, identifying any spending patterns, recurring trends or problems with your expenses process with ease.

9. Make sure everyone sticks to policy

Enable your system to automatically deal with policy violations or unusual claims and you’ll be able to stop false or fraudulent claims in their tracks.

10. Avoid that last-minute panic

A simple system that can be easily accessed from anywhere at any time, and that can process claims at a fraction of the time taken by traditional paper- or spreadsheet-based systems will save you and your employees that last-minute submission day panic. There’s no need to leave everything until the end of the month when making claims is so easy!

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If you’d like information about Expenses&HospitalityPlus, which can provide your organisation with all of the above and more, visit www.erpaas.com, or click here to view and download our brochure. If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below, contact us via Twitter, or send us an email at info@erpaas.com.

(This post is part of a series of posts showcasing the benefits that each of our PolicyPlus applications can bring to your organisation. Click here to visit the original post and view a list of all the posts in the series.)