The challenges of adjusting to the reopened economy have placed financial services under significant strain. Budget cuts, the great resignation and post-Brexit recruitment problems mean that many employees are spending disproportionate amounts of time grappling with mundane operational tasks to simply keep businesses afloat. Innovation and strategic planning run the risk of being left behind as energy is spent on resource-sapping back-office complications.

This stagnation can be costly - in more ways than one. A study has found that office workers in the accountancy, banking and finance sectors spend on average over three hours a day on manual, repetitive tasks which are not part of their primary job. As well as being slow and demoralising, such high levels of manual processing can lead to inconsistent results and financially damaging errors.

Tactical solutions are needed to ease the burden on teams and free up staff to focus on more challenging, qualitative endeavours. This is where automation comes in. By transforming monotonous work into streamlined automated processes, businesses can reduce costs, drive productivity and efficiency, and foster a happier workforce culture.

The need to automate

Rapidly accelerating digital transformation has created a wealth of opportunities for financial services. However, invoices still need to be processed and payrolls need to be generated. Currently, these day-to-day tasks form a significant chunk of employees’ time, adding to the pressure they are already under to juggle a variety of repetitive administrative processes. The use of innovative IT solutions to automate these tasks can offer precious time back to teams, allowing them to focus on the more stimulating, value-adding activities that drive business growth.

When it comes to time savings brought about by automation, the figures back up the promise PwC’s Finance Benchmarking Report found that automating finance tasks can save 30%-40% of the time spent on doing the same tasks manually. Not only does this point towards vast efficiency improvements, but it also suggests a reduction in costly instances of human error.

The benefits of automating mundane but necessary tasks can be transformative and empowering -both for employees and for the business itself. Crucially, it allows individuals to channel their energy into more creative and strategic tasks, where they can exercise their autonomy and problem-solving skills to achieve tangible results for the business. Reducing the time taken up by onerous administrative tasks will give employees more time to concentrate on the ‘bigger picture’ initiatives that are so vital to boosting revenue.

Finance departments across the country have been forced to downsize following the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, many have accrued a formidable backlog of invoicing and payroll tasks – and are relying on much smaller teams to handle them. For these organisations, the use of streamlined automated technology to reduce the administrative burden can help them overcome a significant hurdle on the road to recovery. It is a strategy that will also safeguard them against human error and other internal administrative crises that can cause damaging financial loss. The high level of accuracy and efficiency that automation brings will prove a key factor in the future success of businesses across all sectors.

Long-term benefits

As financial companies vie to attract talent and remain competitive in a post-Covid world, it has never been a better time to embrace smart, expertise-driven IT solutions. A recovery informed by automation will allow businesses to get the most value from their workforce and avoid piling the pressure on overburdened employees to pick up mundane tasks.

It can also be an opportunity for businesses to transform their workplace culture. Employee satisfaction visibly manifests itself in greater productivity, innovation, commitment, and other tangible benefits to the business bottom line. As organisations look to differentiate themselves and retain employees, being able to reassign individuals to more creative, strategic, and value-adding tasks goes a long way to increasing staff morale and retention.

Clearly, tech has a major role to play in the survival of businesses beyond the pandemic. Automation is a versatile solution that can revolutionise the way financial organisations operate without the need for cumbersome, time-draining manual checks.