Smart technology safeguarding firms against back office pitfalls

By Bhupender Singh, CEO of Intelenet Global Services

The key to tackling error and fraud in areas such as finance, cash flow, investment, and compliance is to fully comprehend the risks. A growing number of companies are turning to enterprise resource planning applications which allow employees to manage back office functions in an intuitive way. This method involves intelligent tools that can be leveraged to offset the risk of error and fraud.

Assessment and reporting

Software can be a vital weapon to be used in monitoring risk and controls within a business. Companies that have risk and control monitoring software at their disposal facilitate the assessment of the entire range of risks by executive management. The review of complete processes is essential in achieving this visibility and can lead to greater peace of mind when it comes to account and audit tasks. The collation of risk within a single system allows vulnerabilities to be compared across an enterprise wide basis.

More than a cost saving key

The introduction of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has inevitably led to cost savings for businesses that are faced with a great deal of repetitive, low-value tasks. Also, the technology that automates these processes is key in reducing errors resulting from ‘fat-finger’ mistakes, whereby errors are inadvertently entered into the system, sometimes costing the company thousands in lost revenue.

For example, a large British supermarket recently committed a costly accounting error which led to a loss of £350m in its first-half profits. Another infamous incident in 2010 saw 1000 points wiped off the Dow Jones stock exchange as a trader accidently hit ‘B’ for Billion instead of M in a sell order.[1]

As machine learning becomes more advanced, we are able to use RPA in conjunction with intelligent tools which ‘learn’ from previous mistakes. A mature system which has already been exposed to a large amount of input data will be primed to block abnormal requests. The combination of both of these technologies can be a powerful tool in reducing the dual problems of fraud and human error.

Think about deployment

RPA adoption is a powerful weapon when it comes to reducing error and fraud costs. The implementation of RPA processes must be carried out with a clear timeline in mind, or alternatively, passed on to a trusted partner.

RPA adoption can be a daunting prospect. However, this is something that those in the BPO industry have already considered. Offloading adoption risk to a partner means that they bear the majority of the risk and the process changes can be assessed safely.

Accounting and finance executive roles are being redefined by smart technology. The power of automated tools will allow professionals to redirect their focus and concentrate on forging better relationships with clients rather than carrying out time-consuming and repetitive tasks such as data input. Ultimately, this will have a positive effect on errors within the system – for example, one company was hit by £16.55 million in costs over the course of 3 years as a result of unforced errors. [2] It is becoming clear that the costs of adopting smart solutions in the finance and accounting department are greatly offset by the potential risk that firms expose themselves to when using outdated business processes.