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    5 Tasks Your Finance Team Should Be Automating By Now

    If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve already got a good idea of the fundamentals of an elite finance function in the modern day.

    This week we’re taking a closer look at recurring tasks finance teams undertake that have no right to be done manually anymore. With the technology readily and affordably available, here are 5 tasks your finance team should be automating by now.

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    1. Processing purchase invoices and expenses

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    Let’s start with the basics. If you take a quick look around your finance team, do you spot any of the following:

    • Boxes of receipts?
    • A pile of invoices slowly feeding into the scanner?
    • Frustrated murmurs of a company lunch someone couldn’t be bothered going through the hassle of expensing?

    If so, it’s time to get your team out of the ‘80s and start raking in serious time savings. Considering the length of time OCR technology (optical character recognition - the software that converts images of text to typed text) has been around, it’s now within grasp for your finance team to simply snap photos on their phones and have invoices and expense reports automatically handled, without the need for tedious manual data entry or filing.

    Sure, you might suddenly start seeing a whole lot more coffees and lunches being claimed, but you’ll see the leap in workplace satisfaction next time you peek around the office.

    2. Bank reconciliation

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    Gone are the days of exporting transactions from your bank account to import into your accounting software (or, god forbid, manually entering them). With the revelation of bank feeds and their integration into cloud accounting software, your finance team should no longer be wasting time on CSV formatting or manual matching of transactions to invoices and bills.

    Modern apps can save your business huge amounts of time with automatic matching, as well as eliminate human error. With machine learning making its way into the software, some apps can even learn over time which transactions align with specified categories so you can easily see at a glance how much is being spent in each area of your business.

    3. Tax

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    If the cry of “tax time!” at your business is met by moans, groans or simply sheer panic, that’s a strong sign your finance team is missing out when it comes to automation.

    It’s high time your business ditched the paperwork and calculators and start recouping wasted time. A plethora of apps exist for automating your sales tax returns alone.

    With tax authorities pushing forward to a fully digital tax future, it’s time to get on board. Not only will you save your business time, the hidden costs in the tax system have been estimated to cost businesses’ nearly £10bn.

    4. Management accounting

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    It’s already been established that delivery of monthly management accounts within one week of month’s end is the standard for today’s elite finance function, and automation can play a key role in this.

    Finance teams still using Excel might occasionally have the advantage of flexibility when it comes to producing management accounts, but almost always at the expense of timeliness. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “our management accounts are just too unique, we can’t possibly replace our current Excel setup with an app”, but in many cases the one-off time cost in shifting your practices from tedious and error-prone Excel spreadsheets to one of many modern apps that integrate seamlessly into your cloud accounting software, pays itself off many times over in time saved month after month after month.

    And with the rate at which today’s apps are advancing, they’re constantly becoming more powerful and more flexible - you’re doing not only your finance team a disservice by not automating management accounting, but your business at large.

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    5. Chasing customers to pay invoices

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    We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention this. As industry leaders in credit control software, we understand just how great the benefits of automated invoice payment chasing can be - debtor day reductions, cashflow boosts, and hours of admin time saved weekly.

    If your finance team is still approaching credit control manually, tussling with a combination of spreadsheets, notes in accounting packages, and emails across multiple inboxes, it’s only a matter of time until the lack of a consolidated central source of truth comes back to bite you - big time.

    Shifting across to an automated solution involves a minimal setup cost for permanent peace of mind. Not only is every piece of invoice-chasing info easily accessible from a central source in case a particular unpaid invoice case turns sour, your finance team will be unburdened from the hours of admin time credit control consumes weekly; all while your cashflow grows.

    With apps in this area pushing forward with automated humanity, your customer relationships can be safely nurtured without requiring your finance team hammering out emails or sitting on the phone day after day, and with debtor intelligence and insights, you’ll also be able to quickly and easily see who your best- and worst-paying customers are.

    Want more?

    In the coming weeks we’re going to be rounding up our recommendations for the top finance apps you should be using to cover these functions.

    Sign up below so you don’t miss out on essential content to improve your finance function.

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    Chasing invoices can be awkward and time-consuming

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