As we step into the new year, it's a time filled with fresh possibilities and opportunities. Once again, we're here to share our insights into the finance and automation trends that you should keep an eye on as the year unfolds. These trends continue to revolve around the evolving nature of our work and the forces shaping it. Let's delve into what lies ahead.
1. Enhancing AP Automation
Many companies have already embraced AP automation, but a growing number are now embarking on their second round of automation, seeking a superior alternative. Why? They've recognized that automating the Accounts Payable process impacts a significant portion of their workforce, necessitating user-friendly and intuitive software. A superior user experience is paramount when selecting any business software, especially one used by almost everyone in the organization. The flexibility offered by the SaaS model should ideally support this endeavor, unless, of course, you've committed to a rigid, fixed-term contract—a pitfall to avoid. A reputable software provider should not need such constraints to retain customers.
2. Prioritizing User Experience
The significance of a positive user experience cannot be overstated. Today's top talents expect access to the best available tools. Subpar tools can lead to employee dissatisfaction. In an era of persistent talent shortages, attracting, hiring, and retaining talent within your finance team is crucial. We explored this topic further in our previous blog post, "Dear CFO, Can You Afford to Neglect Your AP Team?"
3. Heightened IT Security
Regrettably, recent security threats and occurrences emphasize the need for organizations to prioritize top-notch IT security, making it a tangible priority on most agendas. Security is an absolute necessity. Just as listed companies do, all customers should demand SOC2 certification from their software vendors. For more insights, refer to "What Is SOC2 and Why Should You, as a Customer, Care?"
4. ESG Reporting
CFOs are currently gearing up for the demands of ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) reporting, which presents numerous unanswered questions. We've noticed a growing interest in how AP automation can support ESG initiatives. Indeed, AP automation can play a pivotal role in meeting ESG requirements by furnishing the tools and data necessary to monitor, enhance, and report on the environmental, social, and governance aspects of the business. Beyond the obvious benefit of reduced paper usage, consider these examples:
- Supplier Collaboration: Automation facilitates improved communication and collaboration with suppliers, fostering transparency, enabling supplier assessments, and facilitating responsible sourcing strategies.
- Streamlined Processes: Automated AP processes enhance efficiency and accuracy, reducing errors, delays, and potential disputes with suppliers. This heightened efficiency translates into cost savings and reinforces operational sustainability.
- Data Reporting: AP automation generates real-time data and robust reporting capabilities, simplifying the disclosure of pertinent ESG information to stakeholders, investors, and regulatory bodies.
- Risk Mitigation: Through automated supplier risk assessments and rigorous due diligence, organizations can more effectively pinpoint potential ESG risks within their supply chain and proactively take measures to mitigate them.
- Compliance and Governance: AP automation aids organizations in enforcing ESG-related policies and standards, ensuring that suppliers adhere to ethical, environmental, and social guidelines.
5. AI Continues to Buzz
In 2023, the buzzword was undoubtedly Artificial Intelligence (AI). You've likely encountered a barrage of articles and stories covering various aspects of AI. Let's keep it concise. We're all poised to embrace AI to a greater extent, whether consciously or unconsciously, as an integral part of the solutions we employ. As we move forward, let's remain vigilant in our pursuit of the best opportunities, continue learning, and maintain a critical perspective on the developments, risks, and responsibilities it brings. At Dooap, we've made a deliberate choice not to view AI as an end in itself but as a valuable tool in our toolbox, leveraging it to its fullest potential in the evolution of our solution.
As we navigate the evolving landscape of finance and automation in 2024, these trends will undoubtedly shape the role of the modern CFO. As Dooap the Dog, stay tuned, stay agile, and keep learning 🐾!