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Automation is the way out of disruption — from COVID and beyond

Mar. 24 2021 by Leslie Cant, Product Marketing Director - CCH Tagetik

Performance Management

Eventually, COVID will become a distant memory, recalled with a “remember that time we couldn’t hug,” a shake of the head, and a sip of something strong. While vaccines have made it so that day isn’t far away now, the doors of possibility have opened; we lived through a pandemic — what could be next? 

In FSN’s recent survey, The Future of Automation in the Finance Function, they found that during the throes of COVID’s first wave when business was at its most shook, company’s success was divided by a stark line: those with a culture of automation, and those without.  

This begs the question: should our organizations be rocked again — hopefully NOT by pestilence, but (preferably) technological innovation or competition — can we weather the storm better and less painfully than we did before? 

This post will discuss FSN’s findings and explore how automation can be the paved path away from disruption. 

Digitally transformed companies managed the pandemic better, period. 

Across the board, FSN’s study found that companies that had undergone a digital transformation outperformed those using more traditional methods. Here are three ways digitally transformed companies excelled: 

  1. Budgeting, planning, and forecasting 

Of those organizations that had digitally transformed their processes, 43% experienced no disruption to their budgeting, planning, and forecasting. Only 20% of those that had not digitally transformed experienced the same smooth sailing.  

This is a critical insight when it comes to crisis navigation. 

As FSN emphasized 

“Maintaining a functioning and effective BPF process proved indispensable in the COVID crisis. Because in the eye of the storm, when horizons shrunk so quickly, forecasts would be obsolete within days. Companies that had transformed their BPF process could rely on the process to provide agility and insight.” 

 

  1. Virtual working 

As automation often goes hand-in-hand with cloud-based solutions, those who had digitally transformed their operations were much more equipped for work-from-home mandates.  

The numbers tell all:

  • 60% of digitally transformed respondents said they did not experience difficulty resolving queries with everyone at home
  • 62% saw no disruption when making urgent changes to core processes
  • 60% experienced no difficulty in collaborating from home.  

These results were far superior to finance functions that didn’t use automation. 

  1. On-going digital readiness

FSN reported that only 9% of companies transformed their operational effectiveness through automationachieving complete transformation.  

Interestingly though 

those who had digitally transformed their processes were 2.5x less likely to delay automation projects because they already experienced the value of having automation systems on hand.

  

These organizations saw the benefit of automation as a tool to combat the ills they were facing. Thus, they wouldn’t turn those projects off because the value was greater than the inconvenience or cost. 

Final thoughts: The calm amidst the storm is the best time to automate 

FSN’s findings should fan the flames of automation. As an essential aid in navigating disruption, automation plays a pivotal role in directing organizations safely through tempestuous market forces.  

Automation provides the finance function with the speed, access, and efficiency to quickly pivot budgets, plans and forecasts. For that matter, automation can even help us run entire enterprises from our dining room tables 

Automation and, for that matter, digital transformation have proven their worth time and time again through the pandemic. That’s why we believe a culture of automation is the only way forward.  

The good news? You don’t have to bit it all off at once. A big transformation is a journey of a thousand small automation evolutions.  

Learn more about the future of automation in the finance function. Read FSN’s report here.

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