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GUEST POST | Embrace the Future: Why Companies Shouldn't Fear Automation Projects in Finance Operations

By Martin Kalkuhl

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1 min read

This is a guest post by Martin Kalkuhl of Alta Via

How Innovative Automation Can Positively Impact Finance Operations‍

The automation of many business functions, including jobs, has been a topic of discussion for many years. In 2020 it was predicted that almost half of all tasks would be performed by computers and machines by 2025. Many senior leaders and executives were excited about automation for not only cost savings but improvements in efficiency and productivity across a variety of business units.

However, according to the Future of Jobs Report 2023 by the World Economic Forum (WEF), the automation of jobs has been slower than expected in recent years. The report reveals that compared to 2020, the number of automated tasks has only increased by 1 percent, rising from 33 to 34 percent in 2022.

One reason for the overestimation may be the sudden shift to digital environments during the pandemic. While many businesses moved to remote work from home and sought ways of being more efficient and cost effective, the challenges of implementing automation may either have been too complex or perceived to be as such. In our conversations with customers and prospects, we find that automation is still perceived as a complex transformation requiring a large-scale investment in both time and money.

So how does a business begin to embrace automation, specifically in an often in an area that is ripe for innovation like billing and finance? Our customers have seen success in seeking out specific software solutions, like Zone & Co. for their finance challenges. 

Zone & Co: Finance automation for NetSuite

Those in financial roles like CFOs, controllers, and even the day to finance operations team can have daunting tasks ahead of them. Managing the money operations, like accounts payable and receivables, sending out invoices and bills on time, and making sure payments are received is the lifeblood of any business. Many times, these functions are outdated and involve manual tasks to complete them successfully. Finance teams are strapped for time and seek innovative solutions to these unnecessarily archaic daily chores. That is where automation comes in.

Zone & Co is a leading provider of cloud-native software solutions built on the #1 cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform on the market. Developed by and for finance and accounting professionals, its portfolio of apps — Zone Apps — simplifies and automates critical financial data and workflows across business entities. Delivered as software-as-a-service (SaaS), it includes solutions for complex billing & revenue recognition, advanced reporting, AP automation, payments, reconciliations, and approvals that help over 1,500+ customers worldwide work smarter, faster, and more securely while maximizing platform value. 

All of their applications are built on top of the native ERP environment, so there's no need for an additional system setup or data transfer. Everything the application does utilizes a company’s existing setup, ensuring that there is always using a single source of truth, which also makes setup quick and easy. Customers don't need to rethink G/L accounts or recreate classifications, as everything is based on the current ERP setup. Zone’s applications have gone through hundreds of hours of development and are designed to be as plug-and-play as possible, meaning you'll be up and running in a matter of hours. 

ZoneCapture is a native AP automation and capture solution that can reduce manual processing by up to 83% and eliminate human error. Using OCR and AI technology, ZoneCapture reads the data from any vendor bill with remarkable accuracy. The split-screen functionality allows the user to easily check if all data was detected correctly and if the automated rules processed all lines in the correct way. 

Approval processes can be a source of frustration and result in a lot of time spent on manual processing and follow-ups. ZoneApprovals is designed to tackle these challenges. It enables users to configure complex workflows without technical knowledge, using simple drag-and-drop functionality. To reduce manual steps, they have incorporated several features such as approval via email functionality, delegation automation that automatically reroutes approvals when someone is out of office, and automated posting of accrual transactions for unapproved transactions.

Curious how utilizing financial operations automation tools, like Zone & Co, can benefit your business? Learn more during this upcoming webinar with Alta Via and Zone & Co. We'll zoom in on ZoneCapture and ZoneApprovals applications to show how these work in action.

Conclusion

In conclusion, whilst the growth in automation may have been slower than expected, it's still a very viable option for all businesses, and seemingly inevitability. In particular, this will apply to functions where there is a high level of repetitive manual input required to essentially achieve data re-entry, as opposed to the production of new and valuable outputs. 

As businesses adapt to new technologies and shift to other types of work, they can leverage automation technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. 

Financial operations can be especially streamlined with tools like ZoneCapture and ZoneApprovals, which can automate data entry, reduce manual processing, eliminate human errors, and accelerate processes. By embracing automation, finance teams can move forward with speed and confidence and focus on strategic initiatives. Join us on June 14th to see our tools in action.

Want to learn more? Sign up for the Altavia and Zone & Co webinar today.

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