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The Advantages for Health Saving Accounts (HSAs): Employees find balance between health and wealth
The Advantages fo Health Saving Accounts (HSAs): Employees find balance between health and wealth
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In today’s industry, the leaders of support functions, like HR and finance, must do more with less—especially now. These leaders are investing in enterprise resource planning (ERP) automation, but often struggle to understand how to leverage their systems.
With full organizational commitment and careful execution of five critical steps, finance and HCM organizations can make the most of ERP automation. This technique creates an “automation engine”, improving their business processes and ultimately optimizing their overall organizational efficiency.
The first step toward automation is to establish a clear goal of minimizing exceptions and maximizing straight-through-processing (STP). An exception is anything that causes work to stall, like stopping to get an approval, more data or to perform additional offline research. Not only do exceptions make automation more difficult to build and maintain, they negatively impact efficiency, quality, timeliness, internal control, overall effectiveness and the ability to scale. An STP goal should start at the leadership level and be formally included in individual goals. At the individual level, it should be determined which person or role directly causes which types of exceptions. Care should be taken to not measure or hold people accountable for exceptions they do not control.
Like any building process, a solid foundation or infrastructure should be in place to enable maximized ERP automation. There are seven important components when it comes to your foundation:
Once strict business rules and workflow are in place that instruct the ERP to send work back to the originator to fix exceptions, the affected individuals often experience dramatic changes in their activities and workload. So much so that the individuals can become overwhelmed in their jobs. Formal change management activities should be considered as part of the rollout of these STP rules and workflow. Potential change management activities include estimating workload changes, communicating these changes, recommending temporary and permanent workforce changes and deciding on/implementing agreed upon changes.
Enterprise automation tools such as RPA supplement ERP rules and workflow automation. They are commonly used to automatically read, validate and input data in PDF form. They also can be used to mimic human activities done outside of the ERP, such as running reports, pulling numbers from those reports, allocating or manipulating those numbers and inputting data into the ERP. A common use case for RPA is taking a supplier invoice in PDF form, then reading, validating and inputting that invoice data in the ERP, eliminating the need for human involvement. Automation initiatives need to be driven by people that understand both processes and automation technology. These resources need to be identified, secured and set up for success by implementing all steps outlined above.
Automation is not a one-time activity, but an ongoing component of an overall continuous improvement program closely linked to performance management (as described above.) Automation percentages should be measured and trended, and exceptions should be measured and broken down by type. Exception types should also be analyzed, and related mitigation plans should be developed and implemented. Formal continuous improvement methodologies, such as Six Sigma, can be helpful in keeping people and processes updated. Solutions that provide daily dashboards (such as the example below) can help keep the focus on the right activities.
Automation & Exceptions Dashboard
In addition to improving process effectiveness, control, efficiency, timeliness and quality, automation can help free up valuable skilled resources to focus on more strategic endeavors.
ERP automation is not an all-or-nothing proposition. However, taking a holistic approach centered around a well-designed ERP will provide the most effective, sustainable results. If you’d like to learn more about automation and need help bringing your automation goals to life, speak with an Alight expert to get started.