Finance teams finally embracing the benefits of technology

Finance teams finally embracing the benefits of technology

Anish Kapoor, CEO of AccessPay, explains why automation will be increasingly crucial to organisations over the next few years

Finance teams finally embracing the benefits of technology

Finance teams are on an exciting journey of discovery. They are finally starting to embrace the benefits of technology – a move that is long overdue, according to Anish Kapoor, CEO of AccessPay, a cloud-based payment specialist.

“Finance teams have lagged behind other areas of the business in the use of technology,” he says. “Marketing and sales have been using tech to become more efficient for 20 years.”

He suggests that the decision of finance teams to accelerate their adoption of technology is due to increased compliance burdens in the face of changing requirements from regulators and greater demands placed on businesses by consumers.

“They have prioritised investment in other areas over themselves, but now the biggest gains from automation are in the finance function,” he says.

The benefits are clear, according to Kapoor. Automating as many tasks as possible will free up time for other revenue generating work – or even to guard against future economic shocks.

“Business will be under pressure to cut costs due to lower revenues or paying back loans after Covid-19,” he warns. “Finance functions won’t be exempt from these problems.”

The finance function, therefore, will need to find innovative ways to keep manage cash to ensure financial stability and monitor payment authorisations in the most cost-effective way possible.

“It’s important that businesses start investing for the long-term and make significant structural changes,” says Kapoor. “More organisations are starting to bite the bullet on these decisions.”

Kapoor believes there is plenty of scope for development as many of the core financial operations have failed to keep pace with a fast-developing and more connected world.

“Getting data to and from your banks is at the heart of what finance teams do and yet the technology hasn’t changed in 20 years – when we moved from telephone and branch banking to internet banking,” he says.

This is something that AccessPay is keen to change.

“We are a trusted partner to global banks,” he says. “Customers use our technology to create a secure, fully digital connection between banks and their ERP [enterprise resource planning], HCM [human capital management] and treasury systems.”

Citing corporate customers such as ITV and Imperial College London, he insists digital connections not only result in cost savings, but also provide data in real-time.

“They can save hundreds of thousands of pounds in fees, bank charges and financing costs, by managing their cash better,” he says.

Driving finance forward

In recent weeks, AccessPay has become available to Sage users through their online marketplace, with it sitting alongside other approved independent software vendors to enhance back-office systems of Sage customers.

Earlier this year, it also announced a partnership with Yapily, the open banking infrastructure provider, to provide treasury solutions for corporates. The tie-up will provide real-time visibility into cash positions and transaction flows for thousands of UK businesses. Kapoor believes such agreements illustrate how technology has become a must-have for the finance function.

“Five years ago, we could maintain the status quo but now all businesses are under pressure to do more with less and the only way you can do that is with technology,” he says.  “Finance teams are under huge pressure to deliver more detailed information, with analytics, faster to the business with less resource.”

The changing demands are one of the key driving factors. The sheer amount of data they need to process makes automation a crucial component of success.

An important trend within payment provision is corporate banking becoming more digitized within day-to-day operations.

“More lending decisions are made using data pulled from ERPs and banks, while more services are only available digitally, such as low-cost international payment services,” says Kapoor. For many firms this requires a change of mindset. “Finance teams need to be moving to a more digital connection with their banks, to allow them to keep pace with these changes,” he adds.

Kapoor insists this is where AccessPay can play a role. Helping to automate and digitise banking operations can free up 50 percent of a finance team’s time, he says. “It also gives them access to data with which to make better business decisions and allows them to access the new range of digital first financial services.”

Find out more about AccessPay here 

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