Every industry across the board has accepted some level of automation as they have embraced technology. However, financial planning requires specific features for the relevant department to fully utilise its capabilities. This means it’s important to look for specific solutions, in addition to technology and cost infrastructure. You need to balance managing costs, as well as your needs and desires. So, before you invest in a financial planning automation solution, be sure you know what to look for.
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What To Look For In Financial Planning Automation
There are three big considerations to undertake before you take the plunge.
It isn’t enough that the software is a fit for your needs, it also has to be compatible with existing infrastructure. More to the point, how long does it take to implement? Larger packages can take months, and in some cases, years. This is down to the size of the project, but you must understand the scope of your project when you embark on this journey. The longer implementation takes, the higher the associated cost. A cloud-based solution is an excellent way to get around this problem.
If your automation tool isn’t easy to use, then you aren’t going to benefit from it. If most users can’t competently utilise it, it’s the wrong automation tool for your business. If it’s overly complicated, it will simply make tasks too complicated, and employees will revert to old ways or make errors trying to finish the task. It should provide you with a balance in terms of ease of use and handling a multitude of tasks. Excel remains a popular choice in finance departments due to its familiarity and ease of use. As useful as it is, and as useable as it continues to be, Excel has limitations in terms of data management and relying solely on Excel is as risky to manage as it is difficult.
Consider how your chosen solution collects and manages data and how it converts that data into easy-to-digest information. Likewise, your software needs to be able to present data in a usable way, whether it’s a dynamic dashboard, pulling reports, or building graphs and graphics, quickly and efficiently. Your chosen solution should also assist with analytics to make budgeting and forecasting simple.
Why Financial Planning Automation Tools Are Important
There are many reasons why financial planning automation tools are important, and one of the biggest is efficiency. There is no need to do everything manually with a time-consuming, laborious process. An automation tool can handle that task in a fraction of the time. Data entry is required only once, which makes expenses and payroll much simpler. Reducing the level of manual entry within your business reduces the error rate. It also becomes much easier to track errors when they do occur, and the fix is a one-time task.
Finally, financial planning automation tools are a great way to reduce costs, thus improving profits. There are a variety of ways this is true – first, you don’t need to spend as much payroll on manual data entry. Second, you also don’t need to worry about errors resulting in over or under-changing. It frees up your team to do what they do best and improves the overall customer experience, which increases loyalty, and ultimately drives sales.
Innovative Automation Within Financial Planning
Financial planning automation tools can provide a variety of solutions, from journal entry to expense management automation, financial close checklist and balance sheet reconciliation to improved financial data accuracy and credit control. Automation tools can handle accounts payable, payroll, source to pay, order to cash, and more.
Ultimately, you want to secure an automation tool that eases the burden on your financial planning department. And finding the right software will go a long way to ensure it adds to your business rather than taking away from it.