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CFOs and Finance Directors have long been aware of the accounts payable automation benefits. They include less lag time, improved accuracy, and reduced staffing costs.  In case you need a quick reminder, check out 3 Ways to Streamline Accounting With Business Process Automation.

The writing is on the wall for Chief Financial Officers. Like it or not, most organizations are demanding business process transformation in accounting and finance, and a new role for finance leaders. According to the American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC), nearly 3 in 4 organizations have an active financial process transformation project underway.  

The only constant, the saying goes, is change. In your constant efforts to improve and grow your business, you will need to change business processes, continually upgrade your products, automate with technology, and keep your employees and customers happy. Change management is a key consideration in the acceptance of an enterprise content management implementation, because implementing an enterprise content management system involves a change in business processes.

According to the industry association AIIM, in the past 20 years, we’ve been through 3 distinct eras in the evolution of digital documents and the content management “sweet space” – the intersection of People, Processes, and Technology. 

How you store your accounting documents has a huge impact on your ability to plan ahead. When accounting documents are difficult to retrieve — or go missing — it creates serious problems in the event of a future audit and limits your ability to produce detailed cost analyses and plan budgets.  Effectively managing accounting documents and then preserving them to meet legal and regulatory requirements needs to be a core priority for every finance department.

A routine purchase shouldn’t generate a lot of paperwork and require much back-and-forth over email. But in organizations without enterprise document management software, that’s often the case today.

Enterprise content management can help transform mediocre, manual and error-prone accounting processes into automated and efficient ones.  In addition to immediate cost savings within the accounting department, this transformation will also have benefits beyond the finance department.  Ultimately, pursuing accounting process automation through enterprise content management can position the CFO and finance executives as leaders in a key C-suite objective – business process transformation.

Finance executives in all organizations are being asked to look closely at their core processes. Two the main drivers for business process improvements are cost reduction and information security. Studies show there is great variation in the efficiency of financial processes. Bottom performers spend 2.13% of revenues on financial processes; top organizations only spend 0.57%. This cost disadvantage drops directly to the bottom line, making it difficult for organizations with paper-laden and inefficient financial processes to compete.

Organizations are beginning to realize that improved effectiveness and efficiency of finance and accounting processes are not only worthy goals within the finance department, but goals that have strategic benefits for the corporation as a whole.  Chief financial officers must ask themselves – Are our financial processes world class or second class, and how does this impact our overall business process transformation initiatives?

Paper is all around us.  It slows our processes, creates frustrations for our customers and business partners, and it extracts a toll on the environment.  

Despite all of the advantages of paperless processes, many organizations struggle with taking the first step.  Where should you start on your paperless journey?  Who should lead your paperless efforts?

AIIM, the leading association for the content and document management industry, offers these 12 recommendations.

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