With so many opportunities for improvement and so many places where leaders could focus their automation efforts, why are so many missing the mark?

As we’ve discussed in our recent blogs and whitepaper, the role of AI and automation in the corporate finance world is expanding. Driven in part by the talent shortage and the need for connection across organizational processes, companies have opted to let machines take on the role of humans.

But what are companies automating and what processes are ripe for automation? Our very own Lindy Antonelli sat down with experts to discuss just that. Joined by esteemed panelists Chris Siegfried, CFO, Armanino LLP, Christopher Wetmore, Principal of the RSM Technology Advisory Practice, and Nick Ezzo, VP Marketing of Auditoria.AI, our Accounting Robots webcast was our most popular one to date.

But it wasn’t just popular, it was insightful. Our panelists were extremely candid about the role of the accounting professional in the future and the place for automation. Here are just some of the top insights:

Accounts Payable and Receivable Desperately Need Automation

One of the biggest takeaways, accounts payable and accounts receivable, two areas where data and processes need to flow seamlessly from application to application, are still facing significant automation hurdles.

But with these two processes facing a heavy amount of manual processes, it begs the question—why?

A Lack of Integration

AR should have all the necessary data available, getting customer information from CRM and feeding the ERP with data. AP is similar. Invoices should automatically route alongside information for approval. But too often, neither happens.

Inaccurate invoices pair with inaccurate vendor and customer files. Add this to slow processes for internal approvals and lack of visibility, and manual processes are crippling businesses.

The Missing Link

This is because companies seem to have missed the connection. ERP has long promised integration between applications and processes, but companies appear to have missed out on the promise. In fact, only one in seven consider their ERP to be highly automated.

Beyond Buying and Selling: AI can Connect People and Processes

With companies wasting up to $624,000 annually as a result of manual processes, leaders need to understand that it’s not just the AP and AR that’s at risk. Friction and repetition is one thing, labor costs are another, but a lack of audit readiness is concerning.

Room for the Human: Robots Make Life Easier

According to our panelists, AI is going to take over tasks—but will never replace the entire department.

In fact, AI fits into the following: Augmenting Correspondence, Executing Repetitive Tasks, and Predicting the Future. Humans, on the other hand will still play a vital role in providing context and recommendations, shaping the models, and providing professional judgement.

Watch the Entire Webcast: Accounting Robots

2020 has presented a lot of changes to the front- and back-office. With the next three years set to drive AI implementations into the mainstream, it’s vital to know what’s coming. That’s why we were so excited to hear from these esteemed panelists and are please to share this recap with you.

Watch the Accounting Robots recap here.

Additional Resources

Controllers’ Guide to Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Delivering on the Promise of Back-Office Automation

Is AI Becoming Mainstream in Finance?

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