Automated processes are more efficient, secure than manual operations

Document imaging and management solutions are used in a number of departments throughout the business world, eliminating a firm's reliance on physical paperwork. Companies can streamline operations and enhance electronic workflow by giving individuals easy access to a growing volume of mission-critical resources.

Unfortunately, many financial departments are left out of the equation because decision-makers are not able to develop a strong enough business case for electronic workflow solutions, according to a report by PayStream Advisors. Furthermore, if executives are able to create usage cases for the tools, many are unsure how to get started.

The report noted that the wide variety of options, including everything from electronic invoicing automation tools to online credit application processing, is also making the decision process much more complex than it should be.

Making the paperless transition in finance departments
PayStream Advisors noted that one of the biggest challenges facing any financial organization is its responsibility to maintain substantial volumes of mission-critical paperwork.

Another study of more than 350 CFOs by echoed these findings, finding that more than 85 percent of respondents said reducing the amount of paper retained is either "very important" or "somewhat important," while only slightly more than 14 percent said doing so was not an imperative.

For this reason, among others, many financial departments are leveraging automation technologies. Citing a 2011 study by the Credit Research Foundation, PayStream Advisors said roughly 33 percent of firms are using automated document management. However, this is a similar penetration rate to 10 years ago, suggesting CFOs and other financial executives need to find better ways to adopt paperless work styles.

PayStream Advisors said eliminating manual tasks by implementing automated processes can dramatically enhance productivity and eliminate a number of errors associated with re-entering data into a system. Electronic documents are also less costly to manage and maintain, as decision-makers do not have to invest in paper, ink and excessive storage space.

Online automation systems also make it easier for companies to meet compliance requirements, as the tools provide more efficient security than traditional, manual processes, PayStream Advisors noted.

In the end, the benefits of adopting automated operations should be apparent to any organization and will likely make a business case on their own.