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3 tasks your organization can automate to save time

Shutterstock_695563669By now, you’ve heard how automation can save you from the boredom of copying and pasting all day. But you might still be wondering what processes your organization can automate to save time. Look no further. Here are three areas finance and accounting professionals can look at as automation opportunities.

Credit applications

Still running credit checks manually? There’s a solution for that. With automation software, your customers can go from application to decision in a matter of minutes, often without any direct involvement from you.

After the customer submits a digital application form, automation software can acknowledge receipt of the application to both the customer and you. The software immediately opens the application and reviews it for completeness. If the file is not complete, the program will populate a template letter and email the customer directly, letting them know what information is missing. If the form is complete, the software confirms that criteria are met. Again, if any criteria are not met, the software populates a template letter and emails the customer letting them know.

If the criteria are met, the software then runs a credit search, extracts the results of that search and compares the results with the pre-established requirements you set. If the results meet those requirements, the software sends an approval notice to the customer. If the results don’t, the software sends a pre-approved template letter offering potential next steps.

The best part? Because you’ve provided the software with the credit requirements and template letters in advance, this whole process can run over and over – and in just seconds or minutes each time – without your constant involvement.

Staff onboarding

There are some HR processes that everyone goes through regardless of their role or department. Benefits administration, system access and setup, compliance reporting and onboarding are all areas that are ripe for automation.

How? Let’s look at that last example. Automation software can be set up to automatically send onboarding documents to all new employees entered into the system. As with other automation examples, the software will review the documents for completion and follow up with the employee if documents are not complete via a pre-approved template email. If the documents are complete, the software can automatically set up a record in the payroll system and enter the employee’s tax information. It can also automatically create IT system accounts like login information and an email address.

This saves time and hassle, as your new employee won’t need to check in with individuals across different departments to get things set up, nor will your existing employees need to manually create accounts or enter data.

Fraudulent account notification

Automation software can also be used to help you identify and address fraud. For example, you can set up the software to flag any account where an address is changed to an overseas location, a purchase is made that is at least 30 percent larger than the average amount usually spent by that client or the wrong password is used to log in to an account a specified number of times.

Once an account has been flagged, the software can notify your Risk and Compliance Department, put a hold on transactions and seek further information from the client to verify that changes or transactions are valid. Based upon the client’s response, the program can then remove the flag from the account and keep it open or close the account. The software can then automatically archive all data.

The unifying theme of these examples is that a pre-determined action triggers a series of events, all of which take place “behind the scenes” and in a matter of seconds or minutes – saving you time and freeing you up to perform higher-value services. There are dozens of automation software providers that offers capabilities like the ones above, although Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism and UiPath are some of the more well-known ones. Just make sure you speak with the provider about your automation goals before committing to any one product. Each one offers different capabilities and benefits.

If you want to learn more about automation before committing to the software, check out our Facebook Live video “Robotics in your accounting practice” or our Robotic Process Automation learning programs.

Lindsay N. Patterson, CAE, Senior Manager – Communications and Public Relations, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

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