Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are becoming increasingly interested in back-office automation, and how the benefits of consolidation could further engage their employees. This is according to the latest research of DiviPay, the Australian expense management platform.
Published as businesses around the world begin to slowly recover from the chronic disruption due to the pandemic, the research asked over 500 CFOs worldwide how they approach automation in finance.
Respondents provided insights on the current state of play, what they plan to automate this year, how it’s helped with career progression, and what finance automation means to the rest of the business.
A majority 89 per cent reported that they are now looking to automate their back-office to engage their employees, not to replace them, and it is clear from the data that automation remains front and centre in the minds of many financial leaders.
Of the respondents, 32 per cent states that automation increases their team’s work satisfaction and work-life balance. A further 31 per cent said that it would allow their teams more time to work on the more interesting elements of their jobs. Twenty-seven per cent of respondents also cited improving skillsets as a benefit of automation; showing that the benefits do extend themselves beyond the hard benefits of efficiency and time-saving.
And, according to the data, the benefits of automation aren’t confined to working teams. Indeed, CFOs are directly enjoying the soft benefits of automation too.
In terms of personal career progression, 54 per cent of CFOs cited the implementation of financial automation as one of the main drivers of their career. The technology has, for want of a better word, granted them a foot-up on the career ladder.
One of the more direct and holistic benefits of automation was explained to be increased job satisfaction across the board. Automation makes teams happier, which in turn, makes their CFOs happier. Automation is therefore one of the key contributors towards a better work environment.
When a CFO needs to build a business case for new finance automation tools, these survey findings show that demonstrating hard benefits like cost and time efficiencies is just one piece of the puzzle.
Articulating the soft benefits alongside the hard is key. Understanding the whole picture will help with buy-in when pitching a new solution to the business, as well as capitalising on a tool’s total impact down the track.
Automation ticks a lot of boxes with multiple benefits for finance, but the tools on the market are many and varied. Finance’s top challenge when automating is locating the right technology to fit their needs. And more than two-thirds of survey respondents have to manage pressure from other departments about finance automation.
Here, DiviPay CEO Daniel Kniaz explains the outcome of the study in further detail: “There are lots of reasons why businesses choose finance automation, with benefits for both the bottom line and employee wellbeing. But to overcome challenges associated with automation projects, it’s important to find a provider who will walk you through their software and how it’ll work for you.
“And the very best providers stay up to date with the rest of the market, so they’re ready to refer you on if they know there’s a better solution for your needs elsewhere.”
DiviPay’s new report: ‘Automating Finance: Wins, Challenges, and What’s Next‘ includes these survey findings and first-hand advice from finance and accounting leaders.