Finance leaders predict automation benefits

A majority (87 per cent) of finance leaders believe that automation will lead to greater efficiency for their business in the next three years, according to new research.

A survey of 250 senior finance decision-makers by data and analytics firms Dun & Bradstreet, in association with the the Chartered Insitute of Credit Management (CICM), found that despite expectations that automation is set to drive workplace transformation, nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of financial and credit organisations are automating less than a quarter of their processes.

Businesses are lagging behind in automating processes in spite of widespread recognition of its benefits, with 67 per cent of finance leaders believing reliable data is the most important factor for successful automation.

Processes that are currently being automated include billing (43 per cent), credit scoring (36 per cent), reporting (30 per cent) and collections (30 per cent).

The most significant barriers to automation are integrating multiple systems or tools (32 per cent) funding or budget (26 per cent) and managing disparate data (15 per cent).

A total of 83 per cent of respondents said they were currently using some form of automation within their team processes and it is improving their efficiency by giving employees more time for value-added tasks. However, the quality of data is also essential to successful automation, with over 67 per cent of respondents citing reliable data as a key requirement.

Integration with other systems (58 per cent) and time (47 per cent) were also listed as top success factors.

The key components currently included in automatic workflows are systems integration (42 per cent), scoring (36 per cent) and use of a customer or supplier master file (29 per cent).

Philip King, chief executive for the CICM, said: “Implementing successful automation is about employing the right technology to complement specific credit management functions and skills.

“A principal task of a credit manager is to avert the risk of non-payment, and automation can certainly assist in this task, with the understanding that human intervention based on experience and knowledge will always be required within processes.”

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