The Role of Technology in Improving Financial Processes
In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, finance leaders and CFOs are constantly seeking ways to optimize their operations and improve efficiency. With economic conditions pushing for greater cost savings and productivity gains, technology has emerged as a crucial tool in achieving these goals. The use of automated payment processing systems is transforming the way organizations collect revenue and manage their cash flows, enabling finance teams to focus on more strategic areas.
According to a recent survey conducted by American Express, payment automation is proving to be a game-changer for finance teams. The survey, which gathered insights from over 5,000 businesses, revealed that 36% of U.S. businesses reported saving significant amounts of time through payment automation. On average, finance teams were able to save nearly 10 hours per week, adding up to more than 500 hours per year. These time savings free up finance professionals to tackle other critical tasks, boosting overall productivity.
The survey also highlighted the growing focus on automation among businesses, with nearly 68% of respondents planning to automate or further automate their payments to suppliers. This marks a 12-percentage point increase from last year, indicating the rising recognition of the benefits of automation in streamlining financial processes. Specifically, 72% of respondents expressed a desire to automate invoices and purchase orders, a 9-percentage point increase from the previous year.
However, as businesses ramp up their automation efforts, cybersecurity concerns loom large. The implementation of payment automation systems opens up potential vulnerabilities that businesses need to address. Recognizing this, over 79% of surveyed businesses stated that improving security around payments is a top priority for the coming year. With the rise of cybercrimes and the availability of advanced technologies to hackers, businesses are keenly aware of the need to invest in robust fraud protection solutions.
Fraud prevention is not the only area where businesses are increasing their technology spending. The survey revealed that out of the 61% of U.S.-based businesses expecting to spend more on technology in the next six months, more than 68% cited the desire to improve productivity as their primary motivation. Technology budgets are not solely allocated to products but also to business and professional services. An interesting finding from the survey is that 47% of surveyed businesses are spending more on such services, with 42% attributing this increase to spending on IT and technology consultants.
Despite the uncertainties in the economic outlook, businesses are embracing technology as a means to drive growth and efficiency. By leveraging automated payment processing systems and investing in cybersecurity and other technology solutions, finance leaders are streamlining financial processes, reducing labor-intensive tasks, and freeing up their teams to focus on strategic initiatives.
As finance functions evolve and embrace technology, CFOs and finance leaders need to stay informed about the latest innovations and industry trends to ensure their organizations remain ahead of the curve. Continuous investment in technology and a proactive approach to cybersecurity will be essential for companies to thrive in today’s digital economy.