Which digital tools best contribute to improving the efficiency of a finance department?

Posted by media on September 8, 2016 at 9:00 AM


In one of our posts last week, we examined the new strategic role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), as well as the need for this role to become more actively involved in all the decision-making related to digital transformation.

The CFO’s job implies a fair number of challenges, among which is leading the digitization of his/her own department. Given that we live in a digital world, it’s imperative for a CFO to be up-to-date on any new trends, solutions or tools to best automate a company’s administrative tasks.

At the end of the day, more automation equals greater efficiency and more free hours that the financial team can devote to tasks that have a direct impact on a company’s key performance indicators (KPIs). In this post, we review three tools that every finance department should use to instantly and easily achieve a much more fluid working process.

This post is also available in Spanish.

Three essential tools to automate a finance department

Given the myriad of resources that exist today to simplify work processes, it can be difficult to decide which is best suited to the needs of your company.

The simple fact is that in order to test and evaluate each option, it takes a fair amount of time - and money. Also, comparing options does not necessarily reveal which is easier to use in the long run - and ease of use is a crucial feature to consider. The usability of tools offered to clients is vital to ensure good customer experience, but internally it’s often less obvious what needs to be a priority. One of the biggest obstacles facing managers when introducing a new tool is the reluctance of his/her employees to actually use it.

With all this in mind, the three solutions proposed in this post - in addition to their technical excellence - offer ease of use in every imaginable way. Moreover, they are now an indispensable part of many SMEs’ finance departments. Here’s why.

1. Billin

The billing cycle is the most complex, difficult and yet fundamental part of any finance department. Having several communication channels with suppliers and customers tends to hamper management efficiency and all too often leads to long hours being consumed by tracking vendor and customer invoices, monitoring complaints and archiving an abundance of paperwork, not to mention the difficulty in projecting the cash flow reliably.

To both simplify and optimize the management of financial tasks, Billin is a solution that enables a centralized billing cycle. Through Billin you can create, send and receive invoices (even if neither supplier nor client are registered on the platform) as well as store all documents safely in the cloud.

With Billin you can upload your invoices in PDF, or create them through their invoices’ creation module - which allows the automatic sending of recurrent invoices - you can also easily send invoices to clients and receive them from your providers, pay as well as collect payments (even if neither the supplier nor the customer are registered in the platform) and store all invoices completely safely in the cloud.

This tool allows you to easily manage and track payments: you can tell if the client has received, viewed and accepted a bill in real time and this greatly facilitates cash management and cashflow projections. In addition to facilitating payment collection from the time of issuance of the bill thanks to its tracking system, Billin also facilitates the payment itself, offering various options such as direct debit (using SEPA mandates online), or payment by debit/credit card or Paypal.

Billin helps improve the finance department’s overall productivity through ease of use, meaning a much smaller reluctance to resist its implementation on the part of the management team.

2. Captio

Another of the most cumbersome and time-consuming processes is the management of travel expenses. Companies with a sales team that tend to travel frequently, the management of such expenses tends to evoke kind of "laziness" in the sales people, who have to file all their expenses as well asfinance department members who must manually check every expense (and accept it if it falls within the spending policies of the company or otherwise reject it and archive the claim).

Captio is the tool created expressly to integrate the entire expense management process onto a single platform, from the expense report, to its classification, approval and all accounting. Captio saves time for both the sales and finance departments by eliminating the tedious revision and accounting of travel expenses at the end of each month, as well as by detecting any internal fraud without incurring additional time or effort.

For the sales department, the process of reporting expenses is simply a matter of taking a cell phone picture of a receipt and uploading it to the Captio app. The app pulls data from the photo and stores it in the cloud. Once the expense report is automatically created, it becomes visible to the administration department who can monitor and analyze each one in real time. And since Captio is Tax Agency approved, digitized tickets are considered equally valid proof as physical ones, meaning that there is no need for individuals or departments to collate an actual paper trail.

3. Signaturit

The amount of paper used by a financial department is unparalleled with any other. Many of these "papers" include invoices, contracts, budgets, proposals, agreements, financial statements, audited annual accounts, all requiring an authorizing signature or approval. It must also be noted that the signing process always takes time, especially if a single document needs to be signed by several people from different departments or even companies. The time delays provoked by getting the relevant signatures is what all too often delays the starts of projects, thus incurring all the related and unwanted costs.

Signaturit resolves this problem. Our advanced electronic signature solution automates and centralizes signature requests from a single platform. From the Signaturit dashboard, you can send any document to sign, while monitoring its status at all times and send reminders if needs be. With Signaturit, the signature application process is completely streamlined, saving paper (since it is not necessary to print documents for signing) and reducing the average time needed to get the required signatures. You can also create teams within the platform so that members of the same department are able to request signatures and monitor their status simultaneously.

Signers do not have to be registered in order to sign documents using Signaturit. Nor is there any need to download an app. A document can be digitally signed from a computer, or using a mobile phone. The speed at which signatures can be collected increase a department’s efficiency as well as give a company an important competitive advantage.

Signaturit’s advanced electronic signature solutions are legal in both Europe and the United States. Should you wish to try Signaturit out for free, simply register here for a 14-day trial to explore all features on offer.

This post is also available in Spanish.

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Topics: Finance & Insurance

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