Accountant, tell us what you’re doing today and what you’ll be doing tomorrow?
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It is usual to see new technologies entering our daily life, but we don’t always take full advantage of their potential through our ignorance, scepticism or even fear – sometimes even the bravest technology adopters get their fingers burnt. Why’s that? And what should we do to build our own success story?
There’s no silver bullet
Just like the “one-multitool-for-29-kitchen-situations” seen in TV adverts gets tucked away in the cupboard once you’ve washed it, in the world of technology a single tool will never be able to solve all the complex problems we face daily. Yet it creates a high risk if for this reason we decide to turn a blind eye to what’s going on around us: data analytics, scanners and other digitalisation technologies for getting rid of paper documents; robotic process automation; systems integration; web-based collaboration tools; document management; new accounting systems; and other technologies. Accounting is a function that requires a keen awareness of technologies and their combinations to choose them according to your requirements today and ensure they’ll serve you well tomorrow.
An honest look at yourself
To make informed choices and properly assess development scenarios, we need to see the big picture and make an honest assessment of where we are and how we work. We need to undertake this from three aspects – technology, people, and process:
What tools do we have? Let’s think about their viability and shortcomings as well as our expectations they’ve fallen short of. To what extent are they serving us and vice versa?
How many of our daily jobs are so routine and standardised that we’d rather have someone else do them after we give them clear instructions as to what should be done and how? Can we honestly say that in a market that’s short on skilled professionals, we’re efficiently using the talents that are working for us?
Are we doing everything we need to? And do we really need to do everything we’re doing? Process automation is useful not only in automating some of your existing processes but also in introducing some missing processes without a considerable consumption of human resources.
The next step forward
Assessing your automation opportunities is useful also if you’re currently not committed to launching any automation projects. If we sit down and look at what processes and activities we’re performing, we can gain an insight into where we’re investing our time and effort. We can see where value is being added for our customers, colleagues and regulatory bodies, and how this is done. We also see our mistakes and wastage arising from some processes that are inefficient and even unnecessary. Only then it makes sense to begin thinking about what technologies and changes you need.
We suggest you embark on this exercise by studying the latest trends, best practices and technologies, and analysing new customer experiences and expectations. Next you can evaluate your processes and analyse your strengths and weaknesses to agree on what challenges you’re experiencing the most. At this point you’ll be clear about initiatives you can launch within a comparatively short time frame, and you’ll see your bigger, more strategic goals. Companies should be operating at two speeds and covering two worlds: optimising their existing business and creating new processes and services.
Changes to corporate processes, technologies and human resources should be managed in a carefully planned and proactive manner. If your company finds this issue topical and you’d like to discuss your process optimisation and automation challenges and opportunities, feel free to reach out to Mikelis Bendiks (firstname.lastname@example.org