The benefits of automating reconciliations
The end of the month comes. And the concern grows. This time not because there is no money in the register but because it is time to reconcile, a task that will start on the last business day and will run until the fifth of the following month. Reconciling the accounts demands the precision of a watchmaker and it does not matter how much stress one is subjected to. Everything has to turn out correctly and perfect.
It is the moment when we realize that technology is the ally for this task to be carried out effectively and efficiently. Of course, none of this would happen if it were not, fundamentally, for the level of commitment of the person or team in charge of reconciling the data.
Contrary to what is usually thought, reconciliation tools require the human factor to achieve the objectives sought. Otherwise, the intended results would not only not be achieved, but could also cause inconveniences for the company.
The benefits of automating reconciliation processes are well known. Those who have implemented these solutions have definitely achieved significant efficiency improvements. And those who previously performed this task manually, by leading this now automated process, find new ways of comparing data to have increasingly precise information that results, at the end of the road, in better business performance.
The reconciliation tools do not replace any person within a company. On the contrary, they demonstrate the value of the human factor when it is carried out conscientiously.
The adoption of technology and the advancement of digital transformation in organizations often generate resentments in the teams involved. When the concept of automation appears, distrust and resistance emerge because (and with good reason) people believe that they can be replaced. Although this can happen in routine tasks, it is not the case of reconciliation, which, at first glance, can lead to thinking about the repetition of a task, but when analyzing what this activity really consists of, it is noticed that the role of the user is key. This is so forceful because it is up to that person, that team, that the system responds to the result that you want to reach.
The collaborator responsible for the process is clear about what has to be reconciled. When they automate a process, they are in charge of creating the rules because they already know the scenario. They know what data they have and can evolve those initial evaluations based on the crossing of new data and the search for new results. Only those who know the information and its contexts can define new rules.
Then, there is a double game: the system will do what users ask based on the rules that are ordered. But users will also have to reinvent part of their way of thinking to achieve new results: they will have to think like a machine that knows how to go from A to B and is not distracted along the way. This double game of the person in charge of the reconciliation will allow them to enhance the use of the reconciliation tool and, based on the new results obtained, add value to the activity that, carried out manually, would be impossible to even consider.
If in times of pandemic there was so much emphasis on reinventing people that they could not continue to carry out their usual tasks because it was impossible given the restrictions, reconciliation also encourages reinvention, but from a healthier point of view. It is about constant learning and the generation of new knowledge inside the company from people who use digital tools to expand scenarios, deep analysis, and improve services for customers.
In the age of digital transformation, automation will reach most work activities, some more, some less. The professionals, those linked to information, are the least exposed to total automation, as indicated in the report A future that Works: Automation, Employment and Productivity, prepared in 2017 by the McKinsey Global Institute and cited in the book Despues del trabajo, by Eduardo Levy Yeyati *.
The human brain functions as a machine gun for ideas. The computer fires one command at a time, even though it can perform many tasks simultaneously. That order must have been thought, first, by a human. The automation of the reconciliation, precisely, requires that human brain so that the activity is carried out efficiently, and without stress.
(*) Después del trabajo – El empleo argentino en la cuarta revolución industrial, Eduardo Levy Leyati, Sudamericana, Buenos Aires, 2018.