Business process automation (BPA) is the technology-based strategy that organizations use to automate specific processes in order to save time and money, drive efficiency, provide transparency and reduce human error. BPA often means integrating applications, restructuring manual resources and utilizing software applications for operational workflows, sometimes to the point where human intervention is no longer required. A business process often begins with a trigger, which initiates a set of predefined workflow steps, or processes. BPA can be applied to a range of business activities, including finance, sales, management, operations, information technology, supply chain and human resources.
While BPA is probably a good idea in some areas, it is not suitable for every process. Before making the case for business process automation in your organization, be sure you know which workflows and tasks are best suited to being automated. It is often best to automate business processes that are time- and resource-intensive, are rote or repetitive, require consistency across the organization and must be consistently error-free. Common areas for BPA implementation include:
Legacy HR on boarding processes are paper-driven and time-intensive. They often include in-person meetings, manual routing of new employee documentation, manual follow-ups and other time-consuming tasks that stretch the on boarding process over the course of a few days. Implementing BPA within HR allows an employee to fill out an electronic form – often at home – enabling automatic document routing and archiving, and ensures that all relevant personnel are notified of progress. On boarding can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.
In many organizations, accounts payable (AP) processes rely heavily on paper invoices and copies being manually routed for the required signatures. Misplaced paperwork or delayed signatures lead to unpaid invoices and a strain on staff. Implementing BPA within AP processes allows for clear invoice tracking, significantly reduced processing errors, and a faster and more efficient process.
Contracts have an enormous impact on an organization’s profitability because they affect revenue and expenses. There are a wide range of tasks associated with each stage of the contract life-cycle. Implementing BPA for contract management enables a central repository and control of assets, automated workflows for contract review and approval, digital signatures, automated alerts that reduce risks, and clear record management.
Tax automation is increasingly being used by corporate tax departments that must reduce their reliance on manual data entry during the processing, payment and recovery of taxes. Implementing BPA for tax automation inevitably speeds up the process, decreases errors and reduces risk of non-compliance. Tax BPA ultimately results in considerable cost savings, as less manual labor is needed at nearly every stage of tax processing and in some cases, can be done away with completely.
Would you like to hear more about implementing BPA in your tax-based processes?
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