Despite finance leaders spending 19% more time on value added activities than they did a decade ago, they are still bogged down with admin tasks which equate to high costs and a less productive finance team. This is not ideal for the team who is already facing unprecedented pressure for better information, cash management and risk mitigation.  

Finance teams realize they must begin addressing the challenges that administrative burden brings now. Without accurate rebate data and efficient processes in place, organizations run the risk of making the wrong decisions, ultimately stalling growth and impacting performance. 

We discuss the ways to release finance teams from their administrative burden and how automating rebate management can ease the strain on finance departments. 

Stop replying on manual processes 

Utilizing spreadsheets for rebate management is deemed the status quo, with 88% of Forrester survey respondents stating they use more than 100 spreadsheets to support their business decisions. While a necessary tool in some instances, spreadsheets are extremely prone to risk and increase the hours needed per full-time employee to close the books, therefore, they are a big administrative burden. 

Information is also still manually uploaded to the finance system. Even worse, many invoices and contracts are still printed out, physically time stamped and then manually distributed around the business for approval. Yooz found that companies spend an average of 32 hours processing vendor invoices per month, by which time the business is close to the wire in terms of payment deadlines and has minimal leeway to manage cash flow. 

Prioritize data quality  

Finance teams are swamped in rebate data coming from ERP, spreadsheets and a host of other systems. Without a comprehensive audit trail, every user who accesses a spreadsheet represents a potential risk to the integrity of the data it contains, and the numbers cannot be trusted. At this point, the entire process becomes an administrative burden with data at risk of contamination and being questioned by every department. 

Added to that, there are piles of unstructured data trapped in other digital and physical paperwork. From legal contracts and emails to files stored in dusty cabinets, unstructured data represents a treasure trove of underutilized information and not to mention the costs that come with it. Research by North Dakota’s Information Technology Department found that it costs a staggering $2,603.64 (£1,908.19) to maintain one five-drawer file cabinet.  

Gaining real-time insights from that data is a competitive necessity for every function of the organization otherwise they run the risk of being without detailed, and accurate financial information. 38% of C-suite executives state that providing analysis to gain business-critical insights was the biggest challenge concerning the financial close in the past twelve months.  

Trustworthy data not only enables CFOs to shift from a reactive to a strategic mindset, but also empowers finance to eliminate the administrative burden and contribute more to the long-term vision of the business. 

Identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks  

Many aspects of finance are admin based and rather repetitive in nature but absolutely critical to assessing and analyzing an organization’s financial health. Rebate accounting for example requires multiple personnel to prepare and approve deals, making the entire financial close susceptible to bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Utilizing manual methods and legacy tools such as spreadsheets often further jeopardizes the deal timeline. By effectively identifying bottlenecks and delegating tasks, finance can reduce any administrative burdens, speed up their deals, and maximize the bottom line. 

Reduce administrative burden with automation  

Automation in finance plays an important role for an organization and is a key driver for moving the company forward. It’s the backbone of the business, with C-level executives, sales, customers, suppliers and auditors all being reliant on the financial information provided. This means that all financial data must be free from error, up to date and presented to the right people at the right time. 

To counteract the administrative burden that arises with spreadsheets and other manual tools, businesses should invest in rebate management software. This provides real time insights into your rebate data and makes it possible to review performance and adapt your deals accordingly. Put simply, modern deal management can do far more than traditional spreadsheets ever could. 

With the changing business landscape, it is up to the CFO to stay up to date with financial technologies and understand that implementing automation can turn into long-term business outcomes for their organization: 

  • Reduction of manual data entry tasks and related human error 
  • Increased speed in processing financial data 
  • More productive and collaborative team
  • Improved decision making due to reports being correct, up to date and delivered on time 
  • Improved compliance procedures 

Are you looking to implement a rebate management tool? Try Enable for free.