Running a business requires managing a complex set of processes to ensure that money moves around in the necessary ways internally, and that external stakeholders are paid quickly.
For many businesses, especially those that use various tools and software in their operations, finance processes may feel automated. But when you break them down, you realize that many aspects of financial operations actually depend on substantial manual effort and repetitive tasks.
For example, your business may have an accounting system in place to help monitor expenses, and an ERP system for procurement. These solutions streamline certain financial processes, but they still leave you relying on manual tools and operations for others. Spreadsheets that track account data are updated manually. Payment and purchasing requests require manual processing. Pricing quotes are sent out manually. And so on.
By automating all aspects of your business’s finance process, you can achieve greater visibility, faster, error-free performance, and control over your business’s finances.
Routine finance business processes
A typical business relies on a variety of finance processes: a process to handle purchasing for goods and services; accounts payable and receivable processes for issuing and accepting payments from vendors; payroll systems for delivering paychecks to employees and contractors; a reimbursement process for employees; systems for managing tax payment and debt servicing, and more.
But if all of these processes are handled separately, or automated with different tools or platforms that are not integrated with other financial systems, it becomes difficult to locate financial information and prevent human errors, and businesses end up relying on people spread across departments to handle financial data input and management.
How to improve finance business processes
Although automation tools are commonly used to streamline certain parts of certain processes—such as printing and distributing paychecks—most businesses still depend on people to approve requests, and manage or oversee each step in each financial process. But that is changing.
Smart finance managers can get to a whole new level of productivity and efficiency by integrating automation into nearly every financial process imaginable. Businesses can create process maps to identify which components of their finance processes can be automated, then implement process automation to move beyond manual systems and create approval flows. What’s more, these automation tools provide continuous, real-time insight into their processes so that they can make improvements on an ongoing basis.
What is finance process automation?
Finance automation combines people, tools and processes through automated workflows to increase efficiency. Automating finance business processes such as accounts payable, purchasing, and employee reimbursement reduces costs, minimizes human errors and allows vendors, customers and suppliers to respond more quickly in order to increase overall productivity.
By unlocking these benefits, organizations can achieve a finance operation that is both more efficient and more effective in creating value for the business.
Finance teams that rely on manual processes and tools like email and spreadsheets to manage finance data and operations are prone to confusion, data loss, and errors. By standardizing, automating and integrating these processes, teams minimize mistakes, improve collaboration, and increase overall productivity.
The benefits of finance automation include:
Examples of finance process automation
Consider the following finance process automation examples, which illustrate use cases from a variety of contexts.
Finance teams often struggle to balance all the moving parts needed to keep their businesses healthy. Managing finances through email, spreadsheets, and disparate tools adds confusion and increases opportunities for error. Standardizing and automating these processes can help your team minimize mistakes, improve collaboration, and increase productivity.
Finance automation software addresses these processes by connecting your accounts payable system directly to purchasing or reimbursement workflows to be sure you process only approved invoices. You can also use automation to integrate accounts payable processes with financial planning tools so that budget is allocated automatically before invoices reach accounts payable.
Finance automation software can address these pain points by:
Integration with other financial systems—such as Quickbooks, Oracle or ERP software—can provide historical data so expense trends can be analyzed easily.
Purchasing & Procurement
Avoid these issues by using finance automation software to standardize purchase request creation, and set purchasing conditions, mandatory actions and automation rules that prevent errors and ensure policy compliance when purchasing requests are processed.
In short, finance process automation software—integrated with existing ERPs and other financial apps—can add consistency, reduce errors, and speed processing for a variety of financial workflows. The result is not only a smoother overall financial operation but also greater business agility, because financial processes no longer become bottlenecks for other business workflows.
Finance process automation made easy
Finance processes are complex, but they don’t have to be complicated. Integrating a process management tool into your finance workflows brings control, accountability, and efficiency to your team’s work.
Pipefy helps you take charge of your finance processes by automating repetitive tasks and creating the visibility you need to manage your team. You’ll also find it easier to centralize information and improve communications within your department, as well as with vendors and customers.
Your success depends on processes that range from the simple to the complex, each requiring multiple inputs from a variety of stakeholders.