How can finance transformation alleviate the challenges of mailbox handling?

Alistair Sergeant
Alistair Sergeant

The concept behind finance transformation is to remove inefficiencies in order to garner better business decisions. That means that everything from processes and systems, to outdated technology and sometimes narrow business mindsets, need to be completely overhauled to provide greater these efficiencies and encourage improved results for the organisation.

However, there are many factors that an organisation needs to consider before implementing a finance transformation strategy:

  • What is the business case?
  • What challenges need to be navigated?
  • Who will lead the transformation?

These are just some of the questions that a business needs to ask in the first phase. There are countless benefits associated with a successful finance transformation strategy such as optimised processes, better data reporting and upgrading legacy systems, to improved mailbox handling – CFOs can learn more about how to alleviate these challenges with an effective finance transformation initiative, here.

In this blog, we’re going to look at how finance transformation strategies can help finance teams get a better handle on their mailboxes and keep pace with changing regulatory compliance measures.

Email is still king

Every organisation likely has 10s if not 100s of departmental mailboxes, and 1000s of correspondence within each of those mailboxes to manage.

Despite new communicative technologies, email still remains top for many businesses – in fact, 95% still use it for internal communications. However, its effectiveness is still widely debated. While losing the odd email amongst 1000s – which happens more than you’d think when multiple people are managing multiple email accounts, with huge volumes of incoming and outgoing communications – may appear trivial, if the information within that correspondence is business-critical, it can result in significant backlash for an organisation.

What about the risk?

Nowadays, the majority of finance departments have to battle on a daily basis with the ever-increasing pool of rules and regulations they need to adhere to. Despite best efforts, something as simple as an unorganised mailbox system could be putting everything at risk.

Regulatory compliance and risk are no longer only concerned with things like data management and reporting. For example, if an email that holds sensitive customer or business data is lost, it’s almost impossible for a business to trace where that email ends up without knowing if it’s been deleted, filed wrongly or, in a worst-case scenario, landed in criminal hands.

Whatsmore, emails often contain information regarding agreed deliverables, timelines, budget, employee resignations, payment dates and more. For these reasons, it’s key that users know where to access information, and to be able to do so quickly.

The challenge

Mailbox handling is another manual process that is undertaken by most finance departments. However, this often presents a few issues:

  • Multiple-user access – as more than one person has access to the same mailbox, it’s likely that more than one person is trying to file important information and documents, resulting in duplicating tasks and human error
  • Time-consuming – switching between info@, support@ and finance@ business accounts and responding accordingly takes up a lot of time and resources
  • Human error – manually managing a mailbox means there’s much more chance of human errors occurring, like lost emails, incorrect filing and duplicate emails being sent out, both internally and externally

This means that failure to handle mailboxes and manage documents effectively risks leaving businesses open to cybersecurity risks and non-compliancy issues.

How technology can help

Having the right technology and the right systems in place can greatly simplify and automate mailbox handling and document management for financial services departments. For example, AI technology is already helping countless organisations to achieve this by analysing and learning from employees’ filing habits in order to automate the filing process. Emails are securely stored in a centralised folder which is accessible to all users of a single mailbox, reducing storage space and encouraging greater collaboration between teams.

Implementing AI-driven email automation as part of the overall finance transformation strategy can also help financial services in other areas, such as:

 Regulatory compliance: The finance team avoids the risk of fines and reputational damage by ensuring they meet FCA compliance regulations with the guarantee of improved audit trails

 Cybersecurity: As emails are automatically saved and securely filed outside of the email server, it means that organisations protect sensitive information from possible hackers, while also being more organised – it’s a win-win

Shadow IT: This means preventing employees from stealing data and ensuring emails don’t get trapped in someone’s inbox if a person leaves the organisation

For CFOs that are looking to adopt a finance transformation solution that enables greater mailbox handling, alongside other benefits like process optimisation and improved data reporting, Niico could be the ideal platform.

Developed by Equantiis, Niico is an intelligent automation platform that is helping to transform finance departments without the need to undergo major changes to existing systems. The platform uses a combination of AI, ML, RPA and OCR to actively read and action emails, it does this by monitoring employees’ actions and pre-empting the next best action steps to take in order to fully automate the email process. Intelligent automation extracts data from email attachments (both structured and unstructured) and automates the input of these data entries into multiple systems to inform better decision making, not only for the finance team but for the whole business.

If you’re a CFO looking to automate your mailbox handling as part of your wider finance transformation strategy, then book a demo today to learn more.

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More about the author

Alistair Sergeant
Alistair Sergeant CEO

As CEO of Equantiis, his main focus is on strategic leadership and growth within the business whilst working through new opportunities that support this. Alistair manages client relationships so that they can benefit from his experience and knowledge. He thrives on leading a disruptive business that works with business leaders to identify and overcome complex business challenges, with cost certainty and transformative outcomes. Alistair is passionate about anything outdoors. Including running, camping and travelling with the family.