There are two moments in an organization’s lifespan that test all the skills a manager has: when there’s growth and when there’s cost reduction. Both represent a crisis, as defined by the RAE: “Profound change with important consequences in a process or situation” and, as in all crises, it is best to be prepared to confront them before they happen.

In this article, I would like to focus on the first case, and in particular in the challenges that it represents for finance departments, although these reflections are valid for all business departments.

The growth of an organization, either by its own success or through mergers or acquisitions of another company or business, brings with it an increased volume of operations that must be processed and controlled. Consider, for example, a common task in finance: validating that records in ERP match the payments recorded in bank statements. This task is usually solved by one or more people, who take the files from the corresponding systems and, in the best-case scenario, develop complex spreadsheets to reconcile some records with others. As you grow, the problem is that people’s natural abilities are limited by the tools and time available: as fast as the team may want to work, in conditions of growth, there comes a point where they are overwhelmed by the volume. The team is stressed, their workdays become longer and it doesn’t matter how early they start or how late they go home, they can’t finish, mistakes occur more frequently, and tasks are completed so late they start to splice with the next cycle, and all the processes that depend on this task are delayed as well. Results can’t even be analyzed; there’s barely enough time to turn it in.

Adding more people to the team normally doesn’t work, either because the process requires a certain learning curve, because there isn’t enough time to hire them, or because someone should usually supervise and control the results, so the net gain of hiring more people does little for the global process. Asking the IT department for a solution in automating the process requires waiting in line for them to resolve their own problems and have the resources to assign the project (which, of course, has to compete for approval among ten other internal crises).

What can a Finance Manager do to foresee or tackle this problem?

Conciliac can help organizations prevent and manage this crisis: it is an intuitive and very graphic RPA tool that allows you to make powerful rules to find coincidences between records from different sources. Rules are created once, and afterwards, the tool will look for the files for the new period and apply the set rules again.  A reconciliation of one to many (when a record must coincide with the sum of several other records from the other source) is just a few clicks with Conciliac. Best of all, it’s a noninvasive application that doesn’t need to manipulate other systems, nor does it need a sophisticated computer (it can run on analysts’ computers in most cases); it can be downloaded on a local computer, and in a few days max, it is usually already implemented and functioning.

Thousands of records can be reconciled in minutes; millions in hours. For the IT area, this represents a project that has a quick solution, requires no specialized hardware, has no information traveling that could jeopardize confidentiality (since the application is in the organization), there’s no need to develop other applications, and Conciliac’s technology doesn’t represent any threat to the ecosystem. There’s no dependence on the supplier, since once the analysts are familiar with the functions, they develop and monitor the rules themselves, just as they would manually with Excel. Once the reconciliation has been completed, analysts can devote themselves precisely to the analysis of results and provide intelligence to the business. And best of all, the cost is so reasonable that the investment is naturally justifiable within the organization.

Although this scenario may vary according to the specific conditions of each organization – the volume of information, the sources of information and their quality – in all cases, it’s possible to create an appropriate solution.

Believe me – everything changes in the Finance Departments when a solution like Conciliac is implemented. A demonstration is enough to convince you to take action, before the crisis appears.

 

 

Author: Jorge Oropeza

Reference:

“Crisis”, Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary, https://dle.rae.es/?id=BHwUydm

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