GENCFO live covered so many hot topics in the industry, from ESG to analytics to mental health. Every session was so valuable to the profession, and I could go on about them all for hours.
Today, however, I’m only focusing on one of GENCFO’s key pillars: automation.
There were two sessions at GENCFO live that really doubled down on automation. What is it, how can you use it, what methods are best… all questions that were answered by our panels of experts.
I want to give you a quick overview of why these two sessions are required viewing for those wanting to learn more about automation and how it can help the finance function.
The first session I will talk to you about is ‘What comes after Excel? The battle for analytics is on!’ with Tanbir Jasimuddin, Lance Rubin, founder of Model Citizn, and Chris Stiebel of Jedox.
My key takeaway from this session is that people sometimes think automation is about speeding up the process and removing the person, and that’s it.
Actually, automation can be quite micro in reality.
I used to talk about automation as the ‘macro macro’. People who use Excel will understand what a macro is, but if you don’t, it’s something that automates your spreadsheet.
A ‘macro macro’ is something that automates everything on your desktop, not just your spreadsheet. So, I sometimes use it for automation. Within the Excel environment, I think a lot of people will understand ‘macro macro’. They’re asking ‘how can I do these tiny tasks that over time are going to build up?’.
Think about the marginal gains theory: 1% improvement over time is exponential, whereas, equally, 1% decline over time is going to lead to zero.
We need to make sure that we’re automating the small as well as the big. That was a really important takeaway from me from this session. It fostered a great discussion around reporting, planning and modelling with some real experts. If you’d like to watch the full recording, the replays are available right now. Just click here!
Or, stay a little longer while I talk about the next session that covered automation at an even deeper level.
The other session at GENCFO live that is really key to understanding automation, especially from a more theoretical viewpoint, was ‘The robots aren’t coming, they are already here!’, with UiPath experts Vlad Cioboata and Ionut Valentin Sas.
It was very much about use cases from larger organisations and enterprise, and seeing the mix of ways that you can automate.
You could see it wasn’t just about the robots, it was about fixing the processes for the robots to then speed them up.
The reality is that a lot of the benefit of automation projects is actually fixing poor processes, which you could do without going to the automation stage. But, when you fix the poor process, you remove the bottlenecks, you remove the human intervention – and then you can speed things up.
Why was this session so important?
It demonstrated that automation wasn’t just about the robots, it was about fixing the process end to end.
It also covered a new capability called ‘process mining’, which is quite complex in larger organisations. Process mining is looking down the process and trying to find bottlenecks to get rid of them so that you can then automate.
Bringing together deep insights as well as modern methods really cemented this session as important for anyone interested in learning or implementing automation in accounting and finance.
When discussing learning and developing knowledge on automation, there was a particular event which kept being named at the summit: the DFF Academy, coming up on the 8th and 9th of November 2022.
It’s focused more on the practical side of things. It’ll be telling you HOW we do automation, rather than the theory side covered by the two sessions I just spoke about.
It would be great to see you there, so keep your eye on our social media for ticket announcements (which will be here VERY soon).
If you missed these automation discussions at GENCFO live this June, you probably missed the other insightful sessions on topics and trends that have the industry talking.
It isn’t too late, however! You can still grab a replay ticket on our Summit site and watch every single session at your own pace.
If you want more info on what you missed before getting your ticket, why not watch our webinar 10 Fresh Thoughts From Finance Leadership for free on our community platform? There, I personally will talk you through the hottest takes from the virtual summit.
And, finally, look out for more articles covering my key insights from the big topics seen at GENCFO live, as more are coming soon!