News

Automation delivering huge cost and time savings to finance, but a change in priorities is required to deliver expected growth

Triad Group Plc talks to leading CFO’s about the role of finance and intelligent automation in the next decade

 

  • 93% of survey respondents expect automation to increase in the next three years

 

  • 78% of finance leaders use automation to reduce the manual elements of repetitive tasks, such as in reporting or accounts payable

 

  • Yet, 71% say the automation agenda is held back by other priorities taking precedence rather than a lack of budget (37%)

 

  • 34% of finance believe their businesses lack the required knowledge to automate more processes

 

New research from Triad Group Plc reveals that while 95% of finance departments are using some level of automation, only 20% have started to automate multiple, complex processes.  The research, conducted with senior finance leaders from a range of sectors, complements the launch of Triad Group Plc’s eBook The CFO in the 2020s: Finance and Intelligent Automation*.

The most common benefit of automation for 78% of finance leaders is reducing the manual elements of repetitive tasks, such as in reporting or accounts payable.

 

“Reducing manual intervention can save thousands of euros that are spent handling miscommunications between systems. If we can address these issues automatically, this frees up resources for other tasks,” says Marco Torrente, CFO at WebBeds Europe, the world’s second largest accommodation supplier to the travel industry.

 

When asked to select the top three capability benefits that automation delivers, ‘fully automating repetitive manual tasks and processes’ (63%) and ‘reducing admin tasks to free up finance heads for more strategic work’ (61%), were significantly ahead of ‘improving data quality and dashboards’ (32%) and ‘reducing human error’ (29%).

 

Rod Meade the Financial Director at Carter Jonas one of the UK’s largest estate agent and property consultant groups is aligned to these findings; “My view is that I never want to hire anyone again purely to move data from one spreadsheet to another.”

 

At the other end of the scale, only 7% of finance leaders that completed the survey believed that a capability benefit of automation was as an innovation, for example enabling AI.

 

What’s holding automation in finance departments back?

Nearly 71% say that other priorities take precedence, then lack of budget (37%) closely followed by lack of automation knowledge with the finance department or wider business (34%).

Bar chart showing what is holding automation in finance departments back

 

“It is a challenge to find the right skills, but we need less accounting-focused talent and more strategic thinkers who can handle finance talk and combine this with digitisation” believes Uta Molnar, Finance Director at Siemens AG, the German multinational conglomerate company and largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe.

 

So, it’s not surprising that the automation trend is building with 93% of survey respondents expecting automation to increase in the next three years.

Graph showing how Automation adoption is expected to change in the next three years

 

Adrian Leer, the managing director of Triad Group Plc, who sponsored the eBook and research has worked with a wide range of businesses and finance leaders on automation projects. He advises; “The finance function is a great place for an organisation to exploit Intelligent Automation. The benefits not only include workflow improvements, cost savings and more fulfilling roles for the finance team; Intelligent Automation also delivers significant capacity to CFOs allowing them to adopt a greater leadership role within the organisation.

“To increase the chances of successful automation, finance teams need to ensure processes are properly  fully understood before being automated and that you bring your CTO and CEO on board. The CTO will add vital technical expertise, while other executives’ support will help to drive new working practices. And finally, all finance organisations will likely be transformed by automation. So, organisations should start planning early for the staff and skills profile that their departments will need in the future.”

 

Damon Harding, Strategy, Leadership and Innovation partner at Digital Works Group a Triad partner, adds “When considering the use of Intelligent Automation, we advise that business cases encompass more than simple financial metrics, such as ‘capacity created’ and ‘labour saved’. Using value drivers instead, which can include things like ‘improving customer experience’, ‘enabling digital capability’ or ‘reducing risk’ improves the selection of which processes to automate.

This research also supports our experience that the key value driver of reduced administrative burden, which allows staff to focus on more strategic work, is a key benefit to finance departments in particular.”

 

ends

 

If you would like further details on the research, or to speak to someone about the findings, please contact Becky Lamont becky@wearematrixmarketing.com

 

Demographics data:

The quotes in this press release are taken from the 28 in-depth interviews conducted in the product of the eBook The CFO in the 2020s: Finance and Intelligent Automation.

The charts and statistics are taken from 41 surveys completed by finance leaders with over 60% of respondents from companies with more than 200 employees, including Ricardo, Co-op Energy, Linklaters, Hillarys and KPMG.

 

About Triad Group Plc

Triad defines, designs and delivers digital solutions for companies by quickly delivering specialist teams ranging from one to a hundred consultants (from DevOps to Agile trainers).

Drawing on 30 years’ experience in the toughest of environments to identify the right solutions, Triad has a track record of success that spans the public, private and third sectors.

Our consultative style produces a partnership and teamwork approach that ensures clients’ needs are met and projects are a success. While our skills, commitment and people achieve digital transformation to budget and within timescales.

Our reputation for expertise, flexibility and getting the job done comes from having stable teams with a history of collaboration and an unbroken track record of successful delivery across Agile and waterfall projects. Triad puts customers’ needs at the heart of a proven approach, designing solutions to complex problems with a focus on unlocking ROI from technology spend combined with an agnostic approach to products and solutions.

Triad has long held approved supplier status on a range of UK Government procurement frameworks with the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) including the Data and Application (DAS) and the G-Cloud 11 frameworks. As a digital application development and automation specialist, Triad also holds five Gold Microsoft competencies, is a Google Cloud Partner and UIPath partner.

Triad Group Plc (TRD) has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1996.

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