Article
Payments

Surprise! Automation Might Be the Best Employee Benefit No One Knows About

One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is frustrating their employees with tedious, inefficient and low-level processes. 

Neeraja Viswanathan
5 min read
November 17, 2022

“It doesn’t make sense to hire the best people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people to tell us what to do.” 

–Steve Jobs

One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is frustrating their employees with tedious, inefficient and low-level processes. 

And there are few things more inefficient than manual account reconciliation.

Is that really why you tried to find the best, most talented, most experienced people for your accounting teams? Why you offer yearly bonuses and great benefits and sell them on your company culture? To sit them in front of one Excel spreadsheet after another, combing through data until their entire work day is just click…click…click…error…fix…click…new spreadsheet?

If so, don’t be surprised when you get constant staff turnover. Because bogging down the talented people you hired with repetitive, mundane tasks is the fastest way to get them to re-think their career paths.

Which leads us to a surprising conclusion about automation.

It’s the best way to improve your employee’s lives.

Don’t Worry–Machines Will Not Replace Us

That isn’t what you usually hear, right? Since the industrial revolution, all people have talked about is how too many technological advancements will ruin humanity. And science fiction cinema and books haven’t helped. Will robots turn against us like they do in Isaac Asimov’s short stories or in the movie Blade Runner? Will our artificial intelligence turn murderous as it does in 2001: A Space Odyssey or in Terminator (1984) and its sequels? It’s no wonder that businesses are nervous about automation in the workplace. That, somehow, we still see smart tech as the enemy of human workers. 

And that’s not just inaccurate. Instead, in many cases, moving away from manual processes and towards automation is probably the best thing you can do. Not just for your company and your bottom line, and not just for your customers and future growth, but for your employees as well. And this is particularly true when it comes to payment reconciliation.

Everyone knows the faster your company grows, the more transactions there are to reconcile and record and the more your payment reconciliation gets bogged down. And if you’re a growing business that’s still doing payment reconciliation manually, you’re consigning your talented accounting staff to long, tedious days of tracking more and more transactions.

And the financial professionals you hired can’t get to other tasks–the ones necessary for your business growth, that make better use of their time and talents. Like keeping organized and transparent sales records, tracking weekly and monthly cash flow, or creating detailed financial reports. Or providing forward-thinking analysis and financial strategizing to increase profits or identify long-term problems. 

These are projects that could make you a marketplace innovator or get you through leaner times. Instead, all of your accounting team’s time and resources are being spent reconciling and cross-checking transaction after transaction into hundreds of Excel spreadsheets, trying to find individual transactions or convert different file formats.

Meanwhile, customers who want to return an item, or have a problem or question are met with red tape, lack of communication and other delays while waiting for an answer. It quickly becomes clear that when you manually reconcile your payments and accounts, it will bog down your customers as well. 

That’s where automation comes in. By automating many of the more tedious manual tasks of payment reconciliation, you’re freeing up your accounting team’s time for more valuable projects. 

People-Centric Automation: Your Company’s Secret Weapon

There are some inarguable benefits to automating your payment reconciliation systems:

  • Less human error and more accurate financial records 
  • Reduced administrative burden and the finance department’s workload
  • Identifying fraud, negative cash flow, or revenue leakage
  • Real-time and visible cash-flow data that is visible to your whole team
  • Reliable backups of documents so you can audit at any time 
  • Order-tracking of damages, write-offs and payment adjustments 

Another bonus is a division of labor, because the customer does most of the work for you by placing the order and making the payment. Then automation takes over, emailing confirmations and updates to the customer, sending shipping notifications to the warehouse, and closing off the transaction after it’s delivered.

But here’s the secret benefit to automation that you don’t hear about much: happier people.

Because automation can reduce the amount of low-level repetitive tasks that need to be done manually, it can make your employees happier, more productive, and less stressed. That means better job satisfaction and improved retention rates.

Not to mention happier customers who can use various payment methods, expect quick shipping and be notified quickly about delays and problems. And if for some reason they need a refund, they get great customer service and the money back in their accounts before they know it.

So, despite fears about automation–robots putting us on the unemployment line, AI running amok or breaking down–smart companies are realizing that the right automation will help their growth and their company culture. And as other time-consuming, labor-intensive processes beyond payment reconciliation are automated, it will probably just get better.

NetSuite is one of the few solutions that’s flexible and comprehensive enough to provide this kind of all-inclusive financial technology. Furthermore, by adding ZonePayments, your company can seamlessly integrate payment processors like Stripe with the NetSuite platform. It’s a win-win-win-win: for you, your company, your customers and your employees!

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