Introducing automation to any area of a business can be met with some level of apprehension and resistance, but for Canadian businesses to stay competitive, it’s essential. One of the areas where automation can be most concerning for employees is in the finance department.
Finance teams tend to be traditional in their way of doing things, even if the rest of an organization isn’t, so the idea of automation might not be met with excitement.
The following are some things CFOs and department leaders should know about bringing automation into the mix.
There are a few areas of fear that employees tend to express most often with automation, but for a lot of them, it comes down to the fact that they’re unsure if they’ll be comfortable working with new technology.
Businesses can make it easier for employees by choosing software and automation solutions that are user-friendly and intuitive. For example, if you’re considering AP automation software, look for something that’s going to allow employees to work remotely, and that has a modern, streamlined looked and feel. If the software and automation technology being introduced is easy to use and achieves important objectives, employees are much more likely to embrace and optimize it.
When an employee, whether in a finance department or otherwise, hears the term automation they tend to inherently hear “replacement.”
With automation in finance, the focus isn’t necessarily on replacing employees. Instead, it’s more about eliminating errors, and streamlining processes to get rid of redundancy. These are all things that should be emphasized during software rollouts, and it’s also important that you start working with employees right away in other areas their attention will be focusing on.
The objective should be to make the best use of your human capital through automation, so get employees on board with this.
Something else that’s important to the idea of automation in the finance department is that it’s not about one or the other. It’s not about people or technology. Instead, it’s about bridging the two for the best outcomes.
Finance leaders and CFOs should work on identifying new opportunities that come with automation but invite employees to do the same. That’s when the real value creation is done.
Finally, CFOs and finance leaders in Canadian businesses are not just going to have to rethink their employees’ roles when they embrace automation. They’re going to have to rethink their own. With automation, a lot of the risk of errors, fraud and other common issues that eat up a lot of time and focus are eliminated.
This leaves financial department leaders available to take on evolving roles. For example, rather than being an advisor or someone who oversees the department, CFOs and other financial leaders can become more focused on analytics. They can look more at larger business strategies and how to achieve those, and less about making sure the day-to-day details like compiling reports are completed properly.
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