Digital transformation is the novel use of digital technology to solve traditional problems. These digital solutions enable inherently new types of innovation and creativity, rather than simply enhance and support traditional methods.
The automation of finance and accounting workflows are synergistic with digital transformation. Consistent with digital transformation, AP automation utilizes digital technology—advanced solutions leverage A.I. and smart data extraction—to free AP staff from the tedious, repetitive tasks of manual invoice and payment processes. This enables them to focus on creative and strategic work, adding more value to the organization.
In a recent interview regarding how AP automation is changing, and will expect to change in the future, Mark Brousseau, Institute of Finance Management (IOFM) spokesperson, consultant, and AP automation subject matter expert, responded, “It will be unrecognizable! Digital, data driven, and strategic. Stakeholders will unlock the value of AP automation and leverage it in more ways than ever.” Further, “CFOs will believe that if they optimize the AP process, they can better manage cash, control spend, and mitigate risk. All helping drive larger corporate objectives.”
While digital transformation—in this case, AP automation—results in positive impacts on many different levels to an organization, such as financial gains and increased productivity, it can affect other areas as well, such as culture. A change in business process requires cultural change acceptance so that the transforming organization can successfully shift. Cultural change can place people outside of their comfort zone leading to an overall fear of change and resulting in a shift in mindset from contentment to uncertainty. Concerns and questions arise, such as “This is how we have always processed invoices,” or, “What will happen to my job if we automate?” How does a CFO successfully navigate organizational change?
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll examine the role that the CFO plays in successfully managing both the process and the cultural changes that come with digital transformation.
Until then, enjoy this article by Yooz COO and Chief Innovation Officer Laurent Charpentier, How Partial Automation Will Be a Smart Tool—Not a Replacement—for the AP Clerk.