What if I were to tell you that many of the roles performed by the CFO and their team could largely be automated. Is that something you might be interested in? Imagine if monotonous tasks like accounts payable processing, chasing customers for payment and paying tax were automated. Well imagine no more.
Over the last few years virtually every aspect of a CFO’s job has been automated in some way. This has been facilitated by the shift to cloud based accounting. By designing simple, elegant and open accounting solutions, ecosystems have flourished around the cloud accountants. CFOs have more options than ever before to automate processes. More on this later.
The Virtual CFO is responsible for overseeing the implementation and operation of applications, not people. This is not some abstract concept. Practical tools that automate processes such as accounts payable processing and accounts receivable management are readily available and they can make a material difference to the amount of time spent running the financial operations of a business. For the Virtual CFO working smart is a strategic imperative.
This is not a new phenomenon. Business processes have been going offshore for many years. What is less well known is that some processes are starting to move back onshore, but instead of people doing the work, applications are.
There Is An App For That
- Debtor Daddy - smart invoice collection tool.
Debtor Daddy is an app that helps businesses manage their accounts receivable more efficiently. Instead of manually calling customers to chase invoice payments or outsourcing accounts receivable management to a factoring company, Debtor Daddy allows users to establish rules around past due invoices. These rules determine which customers to contact and when to contact them when invoices fall past due. Users can also build content around different personalities used to chase those invoices. You even get a free plastic moustache when you sign up.
- Receipt Bank- data input automation.
Some interesting apps have also emerged in the accounts payable space. It is estimated there are close to US$150bn worth of bills distributed annually. The average cost of processing each invoice can be as high as US$12.44.
Receipt Bank is an app that aims to eliminate data-entry with a cloud-based data-extraction platform. The app extracts all the data from suppliers’ invoices and populates the corresponding fields in the user’s accounting software. No more manual data entry!
There are many more apps that form the ecosystems around cloud-based accountants. The following is list of some of, but by no means all of the processes that are in the process of being automated:
- Chasing payments
- Reconciliation of bank accounts
- Cash flow forecasting
- Signing documents
- Credit checking
- Inventory Control
- Debtor finance
- Supply Chain Finance
Stay tuned for more tips on how to navigate these budding ecosystems!