Top Online Tools to Automate Your Business Finances
No matter how exciting or innovative a business may seem, its success or failure is ultimately largely dependent on its leadership practicing sound financial planning.
Unsurprisingly, this can be easier said than done. In fact, research indicates that 82% of businesses that go under experience cash flow problems as a contributing factor to their failure. While focusing on the bottom line may not be the most enjoyable aspect of running a business, it is vital if you wish to avoid bankruptcy and other issues.
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Fortunately, as with so many other aspects of running a business, financial planning and management are becoming increasingly automated. Through the proper use of online tools to automate your business finances, your company can take greater control of its finances and make better-informed decisions to ensure a more stable future.
Financial automation has already begun
In reality, financial automation has already been implemented for several years. Paychecks are deposited automatically into employee bank accounts; people enroll in autopay for utilities, phone bills, and subscription services so they don’t have to worry about missing a payment.
Similar processes also exist for businesses. In fact, a study from the McKinsey Global Institute estimates 42% of finance activities could be fully automated, while an additional 19% could be “mostly” automated. That represents well over half of the current activities performed by finance teams.
Much of this automation can be achieved through robotic process automation, which allows repetitive tasks (such as transferring money from one account to another) to be performed by software.
However, the implementation of machine learning and artificial intelligence has opened up even more possibilities in the world of finance. Evaluating financial data allows these tools to forecast future trends and offer data-backed recommendations on everything from pricing strategy to market expansion options.
While many businesses are still lagging behind in AI, the vast majority have already adopted some form of basic financial automation—even if they don’t realize it.
How businesses stand poised to benefit from future financial automation
Eliminating rote busywork is an obvious benefit of automation in financial planning. Processing accounts payable or following through with regulatory reporting can be extremely time consuming when performed manually. Turning these processes over to an automated system reduces the risk for errors, while also freeing up more time for staff to engage in higher-level tasks.
When AI is involved, however, the benefits to financial planning and analysis can expand significantly. Using a set of controls or algorithms, these tools are able to draw upon a constant flow of real-time financial information. Machine learning enables these tools to identify patterns that might be overlooked by a living, breathing person.
For example, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) found that on average, organizations lose 5% of their revenue because of fraud—and more than half of these instances result from poor internal controls. AI analysis provides a powerful internal control that instantly alerts businesses to irregularities, allowing for a swift response to mitigate the damage.