Many financial jobs are under pressure from automation and while the main concern is the threat to job security, machines will take on some of the most tedious and frustrating jobs in finance. A piece of recent research highlights how automated and digital systems are likely to offer a better alternative to the human processor. Not only could a machine be more efficient and create fewer errors, but a machine might actually be more likely to enjoy the work more too, seeing as the majority of UK financial professionals say that invoice processing is “laborious”, “tedious” and “frustrating”. More than four in five financial professionals in the UK also think that inefficient processing of supplier invoices is having a detrimental effect on productivity, according to the survey by Wax Digital and Sapio Research.
Resistance to digitalisation
Worryingly, the research also found that 80 per cent of the 300 senior finance and IT executives surveyed said that their department is not keeping pace with the rest of the organisation’s digital transformation plans, leaving them struggling with productivity, cost and efficiency issues. But it seems that financial professionals have themselves to blame, as 45 per cent said resistance from the finance team was hindering this, while 39 per cent said an over reliance on manual processes was holding them back from ‘going digital’.
The research paints a picture of financial functions being the most IT-resistant departments in the whole company and supplier invoices is the process most in need of modernisation, with 66 per cent of supplier invoice data needing to be manually rekeyed and processed. While a third of invoices arrive through either e-invoicing portals or via direct integration between suppliers’ billing systems and customers’ financial systems, many are still delivered by fax (9 per cent), post (19 per cent), by hand (15 per cent) or by email (23 per cent).
Finance lags behind other departments
Wax Digital's Daniel Ball commented: “By their own admission and the opinions of those leading the digital cause, it’s clear that finance is lagging behind other departments when it comes to digital transformation but is in great need of change in areas such as how it manages its invoices.”
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