It is easier than ever to automate your finances, especially with the proliferation of mobile apps and smartphones. Starting the automation can be daunting, but once started, it will bring your business wonders. There is no excuse for taking up your finance team’s valuable time and effort with manual processes. You hired them for their intelligence, insights, and expertise, which will all go to waste if they are wasting time on outdated finance operations. Let’s look at the range of tools you can use to automate your Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations functions and reap maximum rewards.
1. Take stock of current accounting tools and processes
The first step is noting what tools and processes are currently being used, and what is actually working for you. Set your priorities and let go of things that are not giving you much benefit. Start your list with your core system, and add all the current tools and software’s, to help you differentiate your primary and secondary tools. Highlight any tools that cannot be changed for the sake of financing automation.
Then, you should create a process for how your accounting is done. Ask yourself what day-to-day decisions are made, how is your end-of-the-year report generated, what monthly reports you have to create, and where all purchases accounted for go. Creating a clear path of all action items and most used processes will help you see the gaps and how to fix them with automation.
Then, bring in everyone on the team. Talk to all employees using the software, and not just the accountants. Getting a birds-eye view will help you better analyze the situation. Carrying out surveys is a quick way to see what is working and what isn’t and whether automation will fix these issues.
2. Choose a core accounting software
It’s time to let go of excel and use a dedicated software for accounting. This will make it easy for you to automate your business finances quickly. There are multiple factors you should take into consideration when evaluating a software.
The first is the number of features. Most software will give you similar basic features, but you should always look for special features, which will differentiate you from your competitors. Looking at security features is also important read the fine print and aim to activate multi-factor authentication (MFA) options. See how your software can be integrated with other things and what benefits it will bring. Fully automating things means you should know how your core software will support APIs and integrations.
3. Move your data and allow for an adjustment period
Once you have chosen your software and decided on the integrations, it is time to move your data. Some software has built-in tools which migrate your data for you. Analyze how this software will work for your company and whether your employees can adjust. So, it is time to do a dry run to see how smoothly everything works. Give everyone time to work with the software and become comfortable with the new plan.
4. Identify additional software
The core software you choose is your foundation and it will allow you the most opportunity to build out an accounting automation suite for yourself. To do that, you’ll need to identify the opportunities you have to use additional pieces of software, such as this month end software, to address your remaining major pain points. Maybe for your accountants, difficulty with recurring expenses was a huge problem — one that you solved with your core software. But purchasing approval is driving your managers nuts, even with your new software. That’s the type of thing that you can further automate with additional tools.
5. Integrate and test additional automation
The dry runs do not just end here. Once you have identified additional automation, you have to integrate them and test them again. Check again how your team is coping with the changes, and how things can further be changed. By now, you will have a much clearer idea of what is working for your business and what is not. In this process, you may find some tools don’t work as well as you thought, or they aren’t what you were looking for. So, you can replace and pull-out tools before the entire company adjusts to them.
6. Communicate process changes
It is important to communicate to your team what has been invested in this automation. Have it be money, time, or effort and bringing out the inner flexibility to change, it all matters. If your team is not using your tools properly then it will just be a waste of huge amounts of investment. But it is important to set aside time to brief your company about how things will change and how it will affect them. Give them sufficient training and overviews on the new tools and answer any questions and concerns anyone may have.
7. Monitor and excel
You are good to go! Sit back and let the results start kicking in. You have everything in place now, just let your tools show the magic. In this time period, you should keep a close eye open on your employee’s behaviors and how they are doing with the new change. Ask them if they are seeing fewer pain points compared to before. Secondly, measure the overall efficiency of your team, and how much time is now being spent on finance tasks compared to before. Can anything else still be automated? You can also see the shift in the quality of your data, if your tools are working right then results will be showing.
However, the key is patience. Do not expect results to kick in immediately (although some will) But understand that it is a process and everything will happen step by step.
There is no excuse for taking up your finance team’s valuable time and effort with manual processes. If you are finding it hard to automate your business’s finances you have come to the right place. Finding the right Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner is the first step, the second is letting them work their magic!