Dear CFO: It’s Time to Address Your Digital Gaps
Atle Skjekkeland

By: Atle Skjekkeland on September 21st, 2017

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Dear CFO: It’s Time to Address Your Digital Gaps

Automation  |  Paperless Office  |  Accounting and Finance

Everybody is now talking about the need for a digital transformation. Companies need to improve digital engagement and corporate productivity to serve better click-to-brick customers and millennials entering the workplace, expecting online services, and almost instant gratification.

“Digital is disrupting financial models, operations and valuations, and the overall capital agenda at an accelerating pace. If CFOs want to fulfill their agenda of growing, protecting, and transforming their organizations, they need to address their organization’s digital readiness and the gaps that exist. And they need to do it with a sense of urgency.” --Ernst & Young

Improving customer engagement will also require you to improve supplier engagement. AIIM research among 201 US-based companies found that only 1 in 3 companies has digitized or automated document processing for key financial processes like Procurement, Accounts Payable, and Accounts Receivables. 1 in 3 are using email-based routing and approval, which leaves many emails often being lost or forgotten, and 1 in 3 are using paper-based processing. AIIM research has found that, on average, 44% of invoices arrive as electronic (PDF, Fax, EDI), and 59% of these will still end up as a paper copy, mostly printed prior to manual processing.

Document processing in finance

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AIIM asked the 201 Finance, Accounting, and Procurement professionals in the US to estimate how long it takes to process and pay different types of documents. The most common answer for Accounts Payable was 11-20 days per invoice, and the average answer was 21-30 days per invoice. 18% or almost 1 in 5 said they needed more than 30 days to pay an invoice. Automating this process should reduce the time to 1-5 days.

Paper processing times

AIIM also asked the 201 Finance, Accounting, and Procurement professionals to estimate what it costs to process the documents when including staffing costs, distribution costs, etc. The most common answer for Accounts Payable was US$ 21-30 per invoice, and the average answer was US$ 31-40 per invoice. Automating this should cut the processing cost to US$3-5 per invoice.

Paper processing costs

Noise is intruded on for every step in a manual process, and this means increased risks. 68% of AIIM members think that “business-at-the-speed-of paper will be unacceptable in just a few year's time”. 46% think the best way to improve productivity is to remove paper from the business process.

The benefits are real. In order to succeed in this digital world, you must not only face disruption; you need to embrace it.


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About Atle Skjekkeland

Atle Skjekkeland joined AIIM in 2004 as Managing Director for its European operation, was promoted to Vice President for AIIM in 2006, and became Chief Operating Officer in 2011. He is responsible for marketing, sales, delivery, and support of all AIIM products and services, which include events, webinars, training, research, and membership. Atle is the architect and driving force behind AIIM’s Certificate programs, which have had 20,000+ course attendees over the last 5 years. He has delivered workshops across the world, and established training partnerships on almost all continents. He is also the architect behind the new Information Certification introduced in 2011 and available worldwide via Prometric exam centers. An early adopter of social media to improve member communication, brand exposure, and Web traffic; over the last few years he has developed AIIM’s strategy for using the Web as a platform for education and networking. Atle holds a Master’s degree from the Norwegian School of Economics and has 15+ years of experience working within IT. He is eager to find new ways technologies can add value, disrupt markets, and create a blue ocean opportunity. Atle is also interested in the future for information workers with improved usability, mobility, knowledge sharing, and retention. Renowned as a very energetic and lively speaker, Atle is frequently asked to present at AIIM, Gartner, and industry conferences throughout the world. His background as one of the most experienced and well-known ECM trainers in the world makes him knowledgeable in a wide range of topics.