Across almost all industries, companies are being asked to do more with less. A recent survey found that finance departments now cost large companies an average of 0.95% of annual revenue, down from 1.11% in 2010.
Automation gives companies a way to stay ahead. Automation streamlines and improves processes, especially in payables, receivables, and inventory. The result? Companies can be more efficient, improve customer service, and free up their employees to do less rote work and focus on more value-adding tasks.
Automation improves efficiency
Resource-heavy businesses with minimal or no automation operate at a significant disadvantage in today’s environment. Tracking the many parts of a complicated payment flow is painstaking, requiring many hours of labour. Without automation, some companies could end up spending an inordinate amount of time on payment workflows.
For example, commercial and residential landlords and property managers can own or manage many properties at any given time, so the task of keeping up the payment flow becomes increasingly complex. They need to track initial collection of rent from renters. They also must ensure accurate and timely payment of the commission or property management fees and handle property maintenance invoices.
Many of these moving parts can be optimised and automated, freeing staff to focus on other parts of the business. An automated payments solution platform such as Zai can help property managers and landlords set up and keep track of complex payment flows. Common payment flows include reconciling rental payments, bills, claims, or expenses for multiple properties.
With an automated payment workflow solution, users can make scheduled payments, allowing for scheduled collection of rent or of business loans. Platforms like Zai provide many other efficiencies, including:
- Users can easily make a bulk payment of bills. The platform can initiate a single collection to fund multiple bills. For property managers, funds can be deducted from rent payments to cover landlord property bills as they come up.
- Tokenisation of payment details, such as bank details or card details for recurring payments, means users don’t need to manually input each time they are making a payment. This improves the customer experience.
- Reconciling collections against bank deposits can be automated to reduce manual handling of reconciliation and exceptions. Exceptions can be particularly disruptive to the payments workflow and are time-consuming to handle manually. For maximum efficiency, companies need to ensure that workflows are set up to minimise manual effort associated with exceptions.
Reduce human error
Improved efficiency is just one of the key benefits of automation. Another is reducing the opportunity for human error. The potential varies depending on roles:
- Finance teams could be spending a lot of time on reconciliation and manual matching. With automation, teams can process a larger volume of transactions with more accuracy.
- Operations teams would no longer need to manually upload files or use banking portals to initiate payments — both processes that are ripe for human error. The cost of accidentally paying incorrect amounts is more than just the amount itself. The cost of unhappy customers or a tarnished company image can be far higher. Automation enables companies to ramp up operations, allowing teams to process larger volumes of payments without increasing the amount of labor.
- Data analytics teams can enjoy improved data accuracy. Analytics are only as good as the data used, so automation that facilitates better analytics can ultimately mean better insights into how to streamline operations, improve the business, and make smarter business decisions to achieve better results.
Automation creates happy customers
Automation isn’t often associated with customer service, but it can help companies reduce friction in many parts of the customer experience, such as during onboarding or while collecting payment details from customers. Businesses need to understand customers’ pain points and also identify bottlenecks that inconvenience customers. Automation can make a wide range of processes — including scheduling payments, onboarding customers, or reconciling — more efficient, making customers’ interactions more enjoyable. Making these processes more efficient ultimately creates happier customers, improves your business, and makes it more competitive.