Leading change in the finance Organization: the back office.

Author:Shannon, Brian
Position:Finance Best Practices
 
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With continuing economic volatility, the finance organization faces a host of challenges that necessitate flexibility and agility to achieve its business goals. Increased pressure to optimize organizational cost structure, for example, leads many businesses to seek savings through outsourcing.

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Unfortunately, this does not always resolve fractured processes or pay the anticipated dividends.

Additionally, the ongoing credit crisis leaves businesses of all sizes struggling to sustain periods of financial stability. And organizations must face the challenges associated with explosive data growth, including how to balance information storage with optimal accessibility and minimized cost. Too often this is viewed as an information technology problem. In reality, it is an important finance issue as well.

To adapt to these and future economic fluctuations, organizations must rekindle the entrepreneurial spirit, remaining nimble in the face of rapid and inevitable change. This is why businesses are increasingly turning to automation to keep up and even get ahead. Manual paper-based processes bloat organizations with too many resources at the top of the economic cycle and expose risk with too few at the bottom of the cycle. Automation is a much more scalable, manageable solution.

Identifying Opportunities in the Finance Organization

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Whether procuring supplies and services and paying for them or managing the sales order, billing and application of customer payments, document and workflow centric processes offer exceptional opportunities to meet every finance organization's strategic goals.

* PROCURE-TO-PAY

Accounts Payable (AP)

The accounts payable (AP) process is ripe for near-term dividends, including sustainable cost savings, cash flow management and risk mitigation. By optimizing this process - from the moment an invoice arrives through approval, posting and payment - finance teams can eliminate non-value added activities, process invoices without any human intervention and gain access to real-time information and robust analytics that enable better cash flow management.

Additionally, this allows users to review and analyze a more complete, accurate process history and enable vendor and audit self-service capabilities to eliminate non-productive, time-consuming inquiries. The time savings from automating routine transactions allows the AP staff to focus on dealing with issues, exceptions and the highest business priorities.

The most effective AP optimization solutions:

* Minimize invoice impact by converting paper documents into digital files through c-invoicing, scanning and/or optical character recognition.

* Efficiently route and track the process and...

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