By Andy Burrows
Finance Transformation programmes will often include something like the following line in their business case: “Capacity created by automation and process efficiency will be reinvested in value-adding activity.”
Sounds great, doesn’t it? What could possibly be wrong with that?
Well, as an aspiration, it’s got a lot going for it. The trouble is, no one really believes it and it hardly ever happens. In fact, the opposite often happens. The capacity created is turned into cost savings, which leave even less time for “value-adding” activity than before.
So, if you really want a value-adding Finance function, don’t let your Finance Transformation programme become all about cost savings. And be clearer on how Finance adds value.
First, lest you misunderstand me, let me say that automation and process efficiency are good things.
When I look back on the revolution caused by computerisation 20-30 years ago,...
By Andy Burrows
With all the scare stories about “robots taking our jobs”, it’s easy to get the impression that we’d rather have robots doing jobs because they’re better than us.
Recently, I had to do a 2-minute presentation on the subject of why Finance should pursue automation opportunities. And I was given a PowerPoint slide with 10 or so bullet points full of buzzwords, telling how automation can reduce cost, improve customer satisfaction, improve consistency and traceability, support strategic platform upgrades and accelerate innovation, amongst other things.
Even my own eyes glazed over as I started to talk it through, so I cut to the real point.
Forget the buzzwords. Humans are better than robots!
Robots don’t have intelligence.
Robots don’t interpret anything.
Robots don’t take action on information.
Robots don’t make strategies.
Robots don’t care if they win or lose.
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