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5 Ways to Energize Your SAP Back Office

by Brian Shannon | SAPinsider, Volume 15, Issue 2

April 1, 2014

Back-office processes tend to lack visibility and, in many organizations, are therefore overlooked as potential areas for improvement. Companies are missing out on opportunities for optimization, particularly in SAP-based financial processes, that could significantly reduce cost infrastructures, improve cash flows, and mitigate risks. This article outlines five key ways that organizations can gain efficiencies in their SAP-based financial processes, and can unlock cost savings and empower executives to be agile and make fast decisions.
 

Are your back-office processes cumbersome, error-prone, and lacking in corporate-wide visibility? Perhaps the fundamental issue is that you refer to them as “back office,” affixing what could be considered a derogatory label to a staff of valuable contributors. Using such seemingly unimportant labels, you are also likely neglecting a potential area for improvement that could help your operation significantly reduce cost infrastructures, improve cash flows, and mitigate the risks inherent in such processes.

If you might be neglecting your back-office resources, here are the five key ways to optimize and gain efficiencies for your SAP-based financial processes.

It’s time to remove the middleman and empower your business partners to go directly to the source. Self-service eliminates tasks and expenses that don’t add value to your operation.

1. Eliminate Non-Value-Added Work

Manual data entry and paper-based processes such as accounts payable and accounts receivable have never been efficient. Every organization, regardless of size, can leverage process innovation and technological advancements to automate the capture of inbound documents and data. Reducing hand-offs, cycle times, and costs from everyday processes is within your grasp.

2. Prepare for Continued Evolution

Have you made a concerted effort to move away from issuing paper checks toward more electronic funds transmissions? If so, you are not alone. Your customers are doing the same thing, and the bank, instead of processing those paper checks at your lockbox, is now often only processing deposits. Your staff is now applying much of the cash manually. Are you prepared for evolution that strains your resources?

3. Make Self-Service a Mantra

It’s time to remove the middleman and empower your internal and external business partners to go directly to the source. Imagine vendors logging into a portal to check an invoice or payment status rather than contacting your accounts payable staff. Picture the audit team easily collecting needed documents on its own. Self-service eliminates tasks and expenses that don’t add value to your operation.

4. Ensure Transparency of Transactions

Decentralized receipt of documents and data is a recipe for delays and lost or misplaced transactions. It also raises the risk of fraud or other audit concerns. Centralization and increased controls realized through verifiable workflow routines can offer immediate access to in-flight or posted transactions for a variety of processes. Transparency delivers control and certainty.

5. Continuously Improve

Improvement is not a one-time event. Hunt down the exceptions in your processes and come up with streamlined ways of dealing with them. Thoroughly understand where bottlenecks exist — and what is causing them. Track the process from start to finish and ensure that the various constituents understand their tasks and can be held accountable. That’s the only way to realize continuous improvement.

Seize the Opportunity

There are so many opportunities to reduce the cost of internal processes. Best-in-class businesses understand that newfound process efficiencies can unlock cost savings and have a measurable impact on cash flow, empowering executives to be agile and make fast decisions. They work with a partner that can deliver smart, adaptable, and proven solutions that eliminate time-consuming barriers to productivity. Seizing on these opportunities sends a clear message that the status quo is no longer good enough. Instead, empowering the finance organization to enact change can help the business achieve loftier goals while building for a scalable, more flexible future.

Dolphin leads the way in business performance improvement for companies running SAP solutions. It is the one partner that manages both business processes and data and delivers a competitive advantage that drives cost savings, optimizes cash flows, and fosters a lower total cost of ownership. For more information, visit www.dolphin-corp.com.

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Brian Shannon
Brian Shannon

Principal Business Process Management Strategist
Dolphin Enterprise Solutions Corporation



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