How CFOs can automate processes to drive business growth

Originally published on The
CFO Alliance Blog
July 26, 2018

Four leading Canadian companies have automated their finance and backend operations, allowing them to deliver a better customer experience.

The role of the CFO is changing. It’s no longer just about overseeing an organization’s finance function.

Today’s CFOs are expected to guide the business strategy and drive both top- and bottom-line growth. According to the 2018 CFO Sentiment Study, 75 percent of CFOs stated that their role will become more strategic. In fact, the CFO may soon have a more significant impact on the business than the CEO.

CFOs are taking a leadership role in areas of the business that were traditionally outside of the finance team’s realm. In particular, they are now responsible for improving the customer experience, as this is critical for driving revenue.

However, outdated systems and manual, paper-based processes are holding many CFOs back from achieving these goals. Inefficiencies in the backend create a ripple effect that impacts customer satisfaction.

Many CFOs are using emerging technologies to overcome these challenges. In fact, 38 percent of CFOs are investing in finance automation to unlock their organization’s competitive advantage. Here is how four Canadian organizations harnessed the power of automation to improve backend efficiencies, simplify their processes, and deliver a better customer experience:

A Leading Courier Automated Their AR Workflows to Improve Customer Satisfaction and Save Millions

Canada’s leading courier serves thousands of customers every day – which keeps their AR team busy.

However, the courier’s payment processing system was dated and forced the AR team to enter information manually. This led to errors that gave customers a poor experience. Examples include:

  • The AR team didn’t have the tools to manage periods of high volume
  • They often lost post-dated cheques
  • They would apply payments to the wrong invoice
  • They would accidentally send late payment notices to customers who had already paid

The courier company automated their AR systems to reduce errors, apply payments to the correct bills, and improve the customer experience. An outsourced payment processing solution eliminates the need for the AR team to process physical cheques and manually enter data into multiple systems.

The new system has reduced the time it takes to process a cheque from five days to just two days during peak periods. The AR team has also minimized lost cheques and inaccurate late payment notices – which has decreased complaints and improved customer satisfaction.

In addition, the efficiencies have led to millions of dollars in cost savings.

The Township of Springwater Makes It Easy for Residents to Request Services Online

MoneySense ranks Springwater, Ontario as one of the Best Places to Live in Canada.

Like many municipalities, the Township wanted to boost their efficiencies and better serve their community. In the past, residents went through a burdensome process when they requested a service. For example, if someone wanted a septic tank inspected, they needed to complete a form and then fax it in or drop it off at the town hall in person. This created stress for residents, as they often took time off work to hand in paperwork or resubmit forms if they made an error.

Meanwhile, the Township’s staff had challenges finding files and responding to requests promptly. Since records were spread across departments, employees often needed to search multiple sites for a document. Plus, files would go missing or inadvertently get duplicated.

The Township of Springwater digitized their records and moved them to a central system that makes it easy for staff to find what they need. The new system has improved their turnaround times and eliminated duplicate records.

Meanwhile, residents can request services online at any time. They don’t need to complete forms by hand or take time out of their busy day to wait in line at town hall. The online forms have also increased accuracy, so residents don’t need to resubmit paperwork due to errors. This has improved the Township’s relationships with residents.

Grey Bruce Health Services Automates Their Medication Orders to Improve Patient Care

Grey Bruce Health Services provides their community with quality care close to home.

However, inefficiencies in their pharmacy harmed their ability to serve patients. The pharmacy’s staff struggled to fill prescription orders, as they didn’t have the resources to manage their paper-based, medication order management system. For example, pharmacists needed to stay near a printer so they could receive prescriptions. This severely limited their ability to attend to patients at the point of care.

Grey Bruce Health Services wanted to automate their processes so they could better serve patients and fill orders faster. A new, pharmacy order management solution allows staff to scan prescriptions directly to an on- or off-site pharmacy – no paper prescription required. Pharmacists can view a dashboard that prioritizes and tracks orders as they move through the system, ensuring confidentiality and accuracy while eliminating the time-consuming steps in a paper-based system.

Thanks to the new system, pharmacists can view patient files and medication orders from any computer in the hospital or pharmacy. This has allowed them to spend more time on patient care and less time on paperwork.

School District 23 Digitizes Their Workflows to Better Serve Students and Parents

School District 23 is located in Kelowna, British Columbia, and serves 22,000 students across 43 schools. The District supports students by providing them with a safe and inspiring learning environment.

While staff at SD23 aimed to provide high-quality services to their students, they lacked the technology to help them deliver on this mission. The administrative team was bogged down with paperwork and had trouble locating documents. They had so many papers that their overflowing filing cabinets packed the halls and blocked doorways.

The District’s staff knew that they needed to gain control of their files. They digitized their records so they could easily find documents and get rid of their disorderly filing cabinets. The digital system has allowed SD23 to improve their efficiencies by:

  • Distributing information faster
  • Eliminating paper
  • Reducing costs

With the new system, SD23 can quickly process forms and send them to teachers and principals for sign-off. In fact, a process that used to take months now takes just one week to complete. These efficiencies allow staff to spend more time serving students and teachers and less time filing paperwork.

How CFOs Are Driving Business Value

CFOs are taking more strategic roles in their organizations and identifying areas where they can gain efficiencies. By automating labour-intensive finance processes and backend operations, CFOs have an opportunity to materially improve the customer experience and drive revenue.

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