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Exploring Automation Opportunities Within Accounting

27 Aug, 2014

According to Allison Correia, of InfoTrends, they recently published an in-depth primary research study on the accounting horizontal within the Business Process Automation Consulting Service. InfoTrends identified five key accounting workflow areas: 1) Sales Operations, 2) Purchasing, 3) Accounts Payable, 4) Accounts Receivable, and 5) Expense Reporting. Within those areas, InfoTrends discovered several major manual processes that demonstrate the biggest areas for automation opportunity for vendors: purchase orders, expense reports, invoices, contract agreement & terms, credit collections, and payments.

The following chart displays the results when respondents were asked to rate how time/resource intensive each process is during sales operations. On a 5-point scale (with 1 meaning the least time/resource-intensive and 5 meaning the most), 33.3% rated “negotiating terms of contract” as the most time intensive. Due to the high frequency of new contracts handled monthly (on average 9 new contracts are received per month), and because contract negotiation occurs in more than one segment (during Sales Operations and Purchasing) this area provides great opportunities for automation within accounting.

We also asked respondents that felt they have been able to highly automate their processes, to acknowledge benefits they have observed. When comparing to how the processes were prior to automation, on average respondents said that they have improved the privacy of information by 39.1%, shipment time by 35.5%, and compliance initiatives by 35.2%.

Although organizations are utilizing automated processes and systems to facilitate accounting procedures, there is still a significant presence of paper and manual processes within accounting that can be eliminated to streamline workflows.

InfoTrends uncovers several more examples of highly manual processes within accounting, and specific vendor opportunities within the five key paper-intensive areas in the full analysis report. We explore processes that can be addressed with scanning, mobile, and workflow solutions, as well as, demonstrate barriers that are slowing down the adoption of these solutions. We also identify key return on investment metrics for automation by accounting segment that are time-saving, monetary, compliance-driven, and auditable that can be used to promote the benefits of a software or solution investment.

For more information about this study and how you can take advantage of this lucrative market, please contact Scott Phinney at scott.phinney@infotrends.com

Also, keep a look out for InfoTrends’ next Business Process Automation Study on Long-Term Healthcare, which will be available by end of year.

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