Myth five: either the CFO or the CIO of organization should govern IA in finance programs – there is no need for business involvement
Reality: IA initiatives in F&A need a multidisciplinary team comprising finance, IT, and business partners to govern them
At first glance, running IA projects as small, independent initiatives may seem a faster approach. However, finance or IT organizations that jump into automation without consulting with each other or with other parts of the business often face resistance, low adoption, and significantly higher investments than necessary.
Before applying automation to finance processes, it is important to rethink the approach. IA in support of suboptimal processes as is may achieve modest savings but will in many cases miss out on opportunities to dramatically improve process outcomes, quality, costs, and cycle times.
Combining the capabilities of IA with a Lean Six Sigma process improvement approach allows enterprises to automate processes at a speed and cost point better than that of simple automation.
For instance, take two companies in the same industry that used different approaches when deploying IA. The first reengineered, standardized, and harmonized finance processes across legal entities prior to automation and saw significant automation benefits. The second company, with higher internal resistance for process standardization ahead of automation, underachieved automation benefits vis-à-vis expectation.
Focused execution of identified IA projects starts with having multiskilled teams including experts from the business, process domain, digital, and operations.
- Finance cannot meet business' goals with traditional skills and capabilities alone. Digital technology and data science capabilities must supplement them. In addition, negotiation, change management, and business skills are crucial for the function to get the most from automation, analytics, and AI technologies
- Having in place a strong stakeholder governance framework is also critical to ensuring the success of IA. It is important to create stakeholder buy-in with early program success and create sponsorship for future program wave