Understanding the Crucial Difference Between Workflow Automation and Outcome Automation
Company boards and CEOs now routinely look to their CFOs and finance organizations to take on a broader set of responsibilities. This situation has CFOs looking for ways to effectively manage their growing workload without significantly increasing their staffing levels.
Connected finance tools that automate and transform everything from the monthly close to accounts payable and accounts receivable are a critical piece of that puzzle. But not all CFOs are moving at the same pace and not all finance organizations have reached the same ideal endpoint—a place Tesorio and others call Connected Finance, where technology, workflow, data, and people act in unison to empower real-time decisions with greater confidence and control.
Working Toward Outcome Automation
Depending on its size and industry, your company’s finance function probably falls somewhere along this transformational continuum:
While this stage is past tense for many companies, there are others firmly entrenched in outmoded ways of handling finance tasks. These organizations still operate primarily in spreadsheets and use manual processes that become more time consuming and error prone as the outside world becomes more connected.
Moreover, because communications and connections between colleagues and departments rely on manual intervention, these things are extremely difficult—if not impossible—to maintain. Staying in this phase inevitably means hiring more staff. But all that does is take valuable cash away from the things that can truly help grow the business, without solving the root cause of the problem.
Then there are finance functions that have invested in automated platforms to solve one or more broken processes. On the definite upside, this automation allows for work to flow more easily within the department and to be completed more accurately with fewer resources, which frees up finance leaders and staff to tackle more strategic and consequential tasks.
However, this phase is ultimately limited because:
- Manual intervention is needed to connect automated systems to spreadsheet-based functions.
- Not all systems fully integrate with others in finance or elsewhere in the company.
- It still relies on siloed servers that facilitate departmental improvement but don’t solve the organizational disconnects that impact financial success.
Today’s most successful companies are those who successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and are ready for the future, no matter what the next crisis brings. How are they perfecting cash and liquidity management? They operate in a cloud-based, API-infused environment where each piece of their finance tech stack seamlessly integrates with the others, as well as with all of the broader organizational systems.
On top of the benefits of workflow automation, this future-forward finance setup provides everyone with much greater visibility, transparency, and connectivity. Instead of departmental data flows, companies in this stage have unified data flows that crisscross the entire organization, which facilitates more accurate cash forecasts and better decision making. In other words, they’ve reached outcome automation.
Need Help Moving Your Finance Function into the Future?
No CFO wants to see their company stagnate or decline. Moving toward outcome automation is easier than you think. Let Tesorio show you how with a cash flow performance platform demo.