Finance automation is no longer the sole province and privilege of large companies. On the contrary even, the power of finance automation has never been more accessible to SMEs, SOHOs and even non-profit organizations. Nor has it been more important to their business progress. It allows such smaller-sized companies to significantly reduce or (almost) completely avoid the manual handling of repetitive, time-consuming finance tasks – just as effectively, in fact, as the largest corporations manage to do. Here are three of those tasks, as tedious as they are essential, for your consideration.
1. Invoice reconciliation
One such task that immediately springs to mind is the reconciliation of invoices in your accounting software or ERP. Or, in layman’s terms, making sure your customers have paid, and that they have paid on time. And if not, sending out payment reminders.
Doing all that manually means regularly checking your bank statements or banking application for movements in your accounts. Now, for a company that sends only a handful of invoices a month, that’s never going to be a huge deal. But for a company that sends a substantial number of invoices every month, automating that entire invoice reconciliation process becomes quite relevant and rewarding. Directly fetch all the transactions that arrive in your bank accounts, automatically mark invoices as paid or overdue and send out automated payment reminders.
Typically, it’s not the size of your company that is the decisive factor, but the number of invoices you need to reconcile. So, even if you’re a liberal professional or a small non-profit or government organisation, automating your invoice reconciliation process can be a wise and worthwhile investment. Particularly if you have a large volume of invoices to process but not necessarily the staff to do it or to assist you with it.
A 100% success rate can never be guaranteed, if only because human errors can never completely be avoided. Since people will inevitably make mistakes in the payment process, especially if it’s done manually, some manual rectification will always be required. But if you can already reconcile 90 to 95% of your invoices automatically, you save a substantial amount of time and money.
Isabel Group solutions to help you automate invoice reconciliation: CODA, Ponto and Isabel Connect
2. Cash flow management
Cash is King. Even more so in uncertain times. Set up automated alerts to better manage and forecast your cash flow. Instead of having to constantly monitor your accounts receivable and payable, you can create alerting flows based on real-time data that notify you when a certain predefined balance threshold is reached or when a certain amount of cash comes in or goes out. This will allow you to manage who to pay and when and to make the right decisions for profitability and liquidity risk management. Don’t wait for your accountant to update you. Take the necessary measures yourself to improve your cash management.
3. Personalized alerting
That same concept of automated alerts can also be used to exercise more control over your general budget management. Though your cashflow may be excellent, you might still be going over budget for specific items. To prevent those expenses from spinning out of control, you can set alerts when that happens – or is about to happen. Making the relevant people aware of the situation, is essential.
In a sense then, alerting can act as a decision-supporting tool. The idea being that you let everything work automatically. And only when an issue or a specific event presents itself, you act on it. This way, you can even consider alerting as a fraud detection tool for your business as well.
Here are some templates for cash flow and budget alerting
Isabel Group solutions to help you automate finance flows
Ponto & Zapier: building blocks
Often all it takes to move things forward is finding the right solution for your business. Take Ponto, for instance, a finance automation platform connected to the majority of the European banks, readily available in our API Marketplace. Its main aim is to bridge the gap between your core business software, say your ERP or your accounting software, and your business bank accounts. This helps you save time and money on financial administration.
You can also combine Ponto with Zapier, a uniquely powerful integration platform that lets you connect your business accounts to more than 2,000 web apps and services. This Ponto Zapier integration allows you to set up banking alerts or create financial workflows without coding or relying on developers to build the integration.
Isabel 6 & Isabel Connect: out-of-the-box
If you are an Isabel 6 multibanking customer, Isabel Connect will also help you automate reconciliation, export bank data (such as CODA*) and import payments from your preferred accountancy, CRM or ERP software.
*if you are not an Isabel 6 customer, you can also get CODAs directly in your software via our CodaBox services.