Johannesburg, 03 November – The shape of financial management within the organisation has changed. Thanks to the influx of artificial intelligence (AI), automation and machine learning technologies, accounting platforms have shifted from supportive resources to strategic and competitive advantages. According to the Finances Online Accounting Statistics report, 83% of accountants believe that technology is the key to remaining competitive. It is also the edge of the financial management blade, allowing for organisations to refine their approaches and operations – using the capabilities of intelligent technology to transform financial decision making.
Accounting automation solutions have come a long way in the past few years. A large part of this evolution has, of course, been driven by the pandemic. Companies had to invest into digital as a matter of survival and part of business continuity and resilience relies on ensuring that financial systems are advanced enough to handle the complexities of a digital workplace and the vagaries of volatile markets. Plus, as the Harvard Business Review highlights, the use of intelligent process automation (IPA) is allowing for organisations to ‘reinvent themselves, remain relevant, and thrive.’
McKinsey believes that intelligent automation solutions are key to gains in efficiency and effectiveness and in giving the business a solid competitive foundation. This is echoed in the Zapier 2020 State of Business Automation report that revealed how well automation can refine an organisation’s processes and deliver measurable returns on investment. The report found that two out of three knowledge workers found it to make them more productive, 65% are less stressed and 88% find it gives them a competitive advantage. Move forward to 2022, and the 2022 CFO Study on the future of automation and intelligence within enterprise finance paints the same picture, but with added value.
According to the study, 61% of Chief Finance Officers (CFOs) believe that automating finance delivers measurable value, while 60% plan to increase their investments into financial automation solutions over the next year. Their reasoning is sound – finance as a function has evolved right alongside the technology. Finance teams are under pressure to meet increasingly challenging objectives and targets while taking on an increasingly strategic role. Organisations rapidly growing in a global market have to juggle globalised payroll, higher admin demands, and intense time pressures and finance teams have to provide the business with the insights it needs at speed. The days of lumbering financial decisions and processes are fast disappearing.
“Ultimately, companies want to know that they can rely on their financial data and departments to keep up with them, and to support them as they move into new markets or take on new hires,” says Stephen Howe, Director at Times 3 Technologies, a Sage Platinum Partner. “The world is agile and finance has to meet this agility head on. Which is why financial tools that automate processes and simplify complexities are critical. Every member of the finance team wants access to tools that aren’t cumbersome, costly and time consuming.”
In addition to speeding up tasks and improving access to financial data and services, automation also improves the quality of the data within the department and how it can be used to facilitate decision making. The checks and balances that moderate financial solutions to ensure compliance have the added advantage of making the data rich and reliable plus, removing the human element reduces the risk of human error which adds depth and integrity to the data. These benefits then translate into data seams that can be mined for insights that can improve efficiencies and approvals and can be leveraged to refine older processes that may have, in the past, inhibited the business and caused unnecessary delays.
“Using the right technology and toolkits, the CFO can simply remove many of the obstacles that have previously limited finance and inhibited its ability to fully realise its potential within the business,” says Howe. “It gives them the space they need to take on a more advisory role and to use existing financial skills and acumen to guide the business more effectively. When teams are tied up in process knots, they don’t have the time to really dig into their roles and provide more strategic support to the business. The right technology effectively removes this problem.”
Enter solutions such as Sage Intacct, an intuitive cloud-based financial accounting platform that enables proactive financial management through smart automation and intelligent processes. Times 3 Technologies is a Sage Intacct implementing partner and has the skills and resources to help organisations fully realise the potential of this platform and move their finance teams into high digital gear.
Times 3 Technologies (T3T) is an established South African Sage business partner, provider of Sage business software and implementation services. Sage, established in 1981 in the UK, is the third-largest software company in the world.
T3T, a leading Sage partner, resells Sage Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Payroll & HR software, customising its implementation to clients’ specific needs through the following main products and services: Sage X3 (formerly known as Sage Enterprise Management), Sage Intacct, Sage 300 People, Strategic Customised Developments, and Implementation Service and Support. The subscription cloud-based financial-management applications and services enable businesses to tailor a solution covering finance, procurement, distribution, inventory management and manufacturing, as well as facilitate payroll and HR functions. The T3T team has in-depth experience in providing and fine-tuning solutions that suit a business’s needs and enhance its growth.
T3T holds Sage’s highest-ranking, ‘platinum’ status, with 30 years of implementing business solutions successfully across numerous industries and sectors throughout Africa. Sage has recognised T3T’s ongoing commitment to providing the best solutions by awarding the company dozens of accolades over the years, including Partner of the Year, Top Implementation Partner and Highest Customer Retention in AMEA (Africa and Middle East).