In the search for business productivity, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Bots are the latest buzzwords. To leverage these new methodologies, managers need to identify the most suitable automation tools. It will help to smooth any disruption to their organisation.
Automating administrative processes
Some business functions are easier to automate than others. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can quickly handle repetitive tasks with minimum error. This technology helps to streamline workflow and save staff time. Some general-purpose software would be sitting on top of existing IT systems. Thus, giving full integration with Business Process Management (BPM) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) tools.
RPA has been applied successfully across several activities in finance, including:
- Financial Controlling & External Reporting
- Cash Disbursement
- General Accounting
- Better customer management
Internet-savvy consumers are familiar with managing their affairs online. The integration with effective automation helps to match their expectations. It also boosts the company brand and maximises the effective use of resources.
It handles incoming enquiries efficiently without taking up valuable staff time. The introduction of a Chatbot service is an affordable solution. It provides professional support and efficiently manages customer enquiries.
Enable a variety of processes to be handled remotely. Those tasks include client onboarding, transaction management, customer support and knowledge database enquiries. This open line of communication offers a wide range of options via the company website. Thus, saving time, boost satisfaction levels, as well as improving long-term customer retention.
Blending team experience and automation tools
Despite a growing role for AI, some financial management tasks still necessitate a degree of human intervention. These include:
- Risk Management
- Financial Planning and Analysis
Automation will increasingly encroach on these areas in the future. Experienced management staff still retain an essential decision-making role today.
Handling more complex tasks
Any area of activity that depends on human interaction is inevitably more challenging to automate. Such tasks include:
- Business Development
- External Relations
- Accounting Management
In these areas, software plays a supporting role to the personal touch of the sales and marketing teams. A range of applications assists in specific areas.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) provides a centralised alternative to spreadsheets and manual record-keeping. It ensures that sales executives closely follow a detailed programme of interaction with clients. Sales, marketing and administrative team members enjoy access to the same up-to-date information. Thus, customer management is significantly improved.
- Email Marketing Software automates customer outreach by enables faster and highly targeted interaction. Customised messages maximise the effectiveness of new and existing prospect databases.
- Marketing Automation Applications take customer targeting to a higher level. Also, it helps marketers with content creation, advanced market segmentation and leads nurturing techniques.
Trade Finance: an industry in transition
While supporting USD 15 Trillion per year of global trade, trade finance remains a largely paper-based process. Important documents like Bills of Lading and Invoices are still printed. Paper copies of shipping documents are exchanged as goods travel along the supply chain.
However, change is coming quickly. Today a trade finance platform such as Velotrade minimises administrative tasks by automating. Velotrade uses automation when connecting the suppliers and investors to the platform. They use API to connect banks, accountancy firms and e-commerce portals.
Velotrade uses OCR to minimise human intervention when checking the invoice specifications. Existing clients can track transaction status via a self-service website on desktop or mobile devices.
Nevertheless, some credit checks and compliance procedures still need to be performed manually. It is necessary for a part as security back up. Also, to meet the stringent compliance requirements of financial regulations.
To ensure a steady flow of new clients, the Velotrade team has developed an in-house CRM system. It plays a significant role in supporting a busy sales team. It helps to track prospect origination, and scheduling follow-ups to maximise client conversion rates.
Addressing the issues that go with organisational change
Automation tools offer a wide range of potential benefits to companies. Those services range from performance improvements to high cost- and manpower-savings.
However, successfully achieving these efficiencies involves overcoming many challenges that face management.
New tools that enable digitisation and automation can rapidly change business processes. The management team is under pressure to make the right decisions for the company based on a swift situational analysis. For example, sales are moving from a personal to a self-service focus online.
However, such a transformation requires an equally rapid analysis by the management team. It also requires a supportive and efficient response from the company’s staff.
These changes will have a substantial impact on employees and the culture in which they work. Great care and assessing the feedback is essential during implementation.
Before automation is introduced, the first step should be to ensure that there is a resilient and people-friendly culture. It can help team members to absorb the impact of changes with minimal disruption.
In this way, organisations can smooth the transition. Also, it ensures that each individual has a better understanding of new processes and how he or she is likely to be affected.
Velotrade is a digital trade finance platform serving the financing needs of Asian importers and exporters. More info on: www.velotrade.com
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.
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FURTHER READING: What is Trade Finance?
Article syndicated with permission from https://www.velotrade.com/blog/automation-the-key-to-future-business-efficiency/
Velotrade is a trade finance digital platform awarded by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and regulated by the Securities & Futures Commission of Hong Kong.
They provide insights on Cash Flow Management, Business Financing and eCommerce.