Evolving technology has turned current business models on their head and has helped to ensure greater efficiency in business processes. In finance departments, intelligent software tools and robots are already partially or fully running repetitive actions. This form of digital transformation is high on the agenda for 84% of finance professionals, according to Onguard’s annual FinTech Barometer.
This revealing statistic should not however imply that the finance professional is surplus to business requirements. In fact, the finance professional will continue to remain indispensable and their role could even become more important than ever, with robotic process automation (RPA) freeing up their time to be spent on additional, value-adding tasks. This will become ever more crucial, with their workloads increasing due to the current uncertain landscape caused as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Offering customisation & a personal approach
The survival of an organisation greatly depends on the level of satisfied and returning customers. As businesses look to create a positive customer experience, this is more likely to happen when the order-to-cash process runs as smoothly as possible, and this is made available with the help of automated systems.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, more customers have been unable to pay their invoices because of cash flow problems, which according to Onguard’s latest research, is currently happening in no less than 65% of cases. It is therefore crucial for organisations to put the customer first and ensure that tailor-made solutions are delivered with the individual customer in mind.
Although data does provide insight into a customer’s current situation, software of course can’t analyse the personal circumstances that could impact invoice payment. While it is of course crucial that outstanding invoices are paid, it is important to identify the reasons for this, as personal circumstances could be a factor. In these exceptional cases, it’s pivotal that human contact is made to ensure an understanding and empathetic approach towards the customer, and this is exactly the unique offering that a finance professional can bring to the table by taking on this responsibility.
By being provided with an appropriate solution, the customer receives a positive experience, despite the difficult circumstances they may be in, and has the opportunity to control and resolve their payment problems. This in turn increases the chance of invoices being paid again in future, and the relationship can be maintained.
Room for an in-depth review
Thanks to digital transformation, the day-to-day ‘autopilot’ tasks of the finance professional are no longer needed, which allows them to add value to the organisation in other areas. For example, automation can help make room for the finance professional to undertake an in-depth review of where any cash flow problems lie. Also, with the use of specialised order-to-cash and credit management solutions that are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), over time, data acquires predictive value. Finance professionals can take advantage of this to interpret data in a better and faster way, putting them one step ahead.
With these capabilities, finance professionals can make decisions with both the business’ and customer’s interests in mind. The end result is not only increased organisational efficiency, but also higher customer satisfaction and ultimately, retention.
People are an indispensable link
Gone are the times of a finance professional’s working day consisting of purely repetitive actions. Through the use of innovative technologies such as automation and AI, not only are fewer mistakes made during the order-to-cash process, but finance professionals have insight to drive future decisions. Importantly, they gain time that can be spent interpreting data and offering customisation, the latter being the key to maintaining successful customer relationships. Ultimately, even after digital transformation, the financial professional can continue to make a difference within the order-to-cash process, both now and in the future.