This recording is part of a three-part podcast series with AccountingWEB and SAP Concur, where we look at a range of issues facing the modern finance leader: from the challenges of career progression to the world of artificial intelligence. You can get to the podcast series hub here.
In episode two of our ‘forward-looking finance leader’ podcast series with AccountingWeb, we outline a practical, everyday vision for automation and examine how the finance function stands to benefit.
A machine did my expenses! That’s the rather provocative name of this podcast episode. After all, there’s something about automation that lends itself to tabloid flourishes. But the reality is something altogether quotidian and qualitative.
To tell us more, we welcomed Alastair Barlow of accounting firm flinder; Manu Dell’aquilla, technology transformation manager at RED, a global SAP solutions provider; and Rachel Van Der Merwe, SAP Concur head of product marketing for EMEA North.
In the pod, we wrestle with what automation is and isn’t -- and how its progress is usually iterative, rather than an overnight transformation.
“In practice, people think of AI going towards this magical black box scenario,” explained Dell’aquilla. “But sometimes it’ll just be a more efficient way of handling a spreadsheet.”
These baby steps add up, and eventually, the benefits of automation can be applied end-to-end, said SAP Concur’s Van Der Merwe. “For a business traveller, it’s easier to do their expenses, and from a finance perspective, it simplifies checks and processes.
“People do their expenses sooner, and on the finance side, you get that insight sooner.”