Perhaps no field requires as high a level of accuracy as that of finance. When dealing with hundreds of thousands, millions or even billions of dollars, one minute error such as a misplaced decimal point can spell disaster. It can also be a nightmare to correct, costing time, money, aggravation and, in many cases, damage to a firm’s reputation that is difficult to overcome. For these reasons, more and more financial institutions are turning to automated workflows to help reduce their error rate and mitigate these damages. Here’s how.
The concept is simple yet highly effective. Instead of manually inputting data, such as loan applications, banks and other financial institutions can leverage the power of technology to enter, scan, validate and prioritize information in a way that reduces error and dramatically improves productivity. Additionally, the sooner raw data can be converted into actionable information, the sooner the firm can make use of that information for increased profits. Automated workflows can be used for all sorts of finance activities, including account opening, loan processing and mortgage reviews, just to name a few.
Mitigating errors due to manual processes isn’t the only benefit automated workflows offer, either.
These sophisticated programs can also help speed up and streamline the exception process. For instance, rather than relying on bank personnel to review and identify problems, such as incomplete forms, automated workflows can complete this task in mere seconds. This helps to eliminate bottlenecks and other delays, thereby improving efficiency.
Another area where IT Process Automation (ITPA) can be used to benefit the financial industry is that of compliance. There are strict regulations in place to protect sensitive consumer information from falling into the wrong hands, and an immense amount of pressure is on financial institutions to comply with these stringent requirements. Protection of printed materials (including printing devices), which used to be a costly and time-consuming burden for financial firms, can now be automated so that only those documents that truly require printing be released. This also reduces paper and toner waste.
All this said, it’s important to point out that not all IT process automation tools are created equal. In order to maximize the benefit of automated workflows, financial institutions should look for the following criteria when evaluating the various platforms:
- Multi-Functional – The more robust the features, the better. Just be certain to verify that the platform you’re considering is capable of supporting the specific needs of the finance industry.
- Versatile Point-of-Capture Ability – One of the biggest savers of time and money is automated workflows that allow bank personnel to capture pertinent information from a wide variety of formats. For instance, whether data is received via paper form, fax, online platforms or mobile application, it can be quickly captured, verified and categorized.
- Ability to Verify Completeness – Look for automated workflows that provide the ability to verify, electronically ahead of time, whether documentation is complete prior to it being forwarded to the appropriate party. This can vastly improve efficiency and productivity.
- Liaison between Data Capture and Back-End Systems – Once information is obtained it must then be transmitted to the institution’s back-end systems to be processed accordingly. Automated workflows that connect these two areas are essential for optimizing business processed and reducing errors.
- Sophisticated Data Extraction – In many situations, information must be carefully extracted and appropriately classified – a task that can take a lot of time when done manually. Additionally, automated workflows that offer this will speed up processing and improve accuracy levels.
- Validation of Data – Once information is extracted and classified, it must be verified and validated against the institutions existing data sources. Look for an IT process automation platform that will enable this task to be handled without the need for human input.
In today’s digital age – especially with the increasing risk of security breaches – financial institutions are facing complex challenges in terms of data protection, error reduction and improved efficiency. IT Process Automation is the solution that more and more firms are taking advantage of, and the benefits are nothing short of amazing.
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