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Reliable data identified as key to successful automation

London: 15 August, 2019

Dun & Bradstreet and the Chartered Institute of Credit Management today announced the findings of a multi-national study on how respondent finance and credit leaders are adopting automation in their departments and the challenges they face in implementing automation.

The informal study found that while 87% of respondents believe automation will improve their respective function’s efficiency in the next three years, most are not leveraging automation to their fullest potential.

“Comprehensive and reliable data was identified as critical to effective automation,” said Tim Vine, European Head of Finance Solutions for Dun and Bradstreet. “Analytics and insight help to realise the reduced operational cost and increased efficiencies of increased automation, and identify new growth opportunities to drive improved business performance.”

Eighty-three percent (83%) of respondents are currently using some form of automation within their team processes and believe it is improving their function’s efficiency by giving employees more time for value-added tasks. However, the study suggests that companies are not automating their process to full potential, with 62% of respondents automating less than a quarter of their processes. Billing (43%), credit scoring (36%), reporting (30%) and collections (30%) are listed as the top processes currently being automated in the finance function today.

Philip King, CEO for the CICM shared his views on the findings and said “Implementing successful automation is about employing the right technology to complement specific credit management functions and skills. A principal task of a credit manager is to avert the risk of non-payment, and automation can certainly assist in this task, with the understanding that human intervention based on experience and knowledge will always be required within processes.”

The report’s key findings also include:

Reliable Data & Integration are Essential
Reliable data is the top success factor of automation efforts, with over 67% of respondents citing this as a top need. Integration with other systems (58%) and time (47%) were also listed as top success factors. The key components currently included in automatic workflows are systems integration (42%), scoring (36%) and use of a customer/supplier master file (29%).

Operational Efficiency is a Key Driver
Improved speed of processes is the top force driving the need to automate, according to 68% of respondents. This is followed by cost savings (55%).

Vast Potential Remains within Automation Efforts in Finance
The biggest barriers to automation are integrating multiple systems/tools (32%) funding/budget (26%) and managing disparate data (15%).


Study Methodology
In May 2019, Dun & Bradstreet collected approximately 250 responses via an online survey about automation trends from multi-national finance and credit leaders. Response sources included members of credit management institutions such as the Credit Research Foundation and the Chartered Institute of Credit Management, plus attendees of the National Association of Credit Managers Congress in May 2019.

About Dun & Bradstreet
Dun & Bradstreet, the global leader in commercial data and analytics, enables companies around the world to improve their business performance. Dun & Bradstreet’s Data Cloud fuels solutions and delivers insights that empower customers to accelerate revenue, lower cost, mitigate risk, and transform their businesses. Since 1841, companies of every size have relied on Dun & Bradstreet to help them manage risk and reveal opportunity.

About the CICM
The Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) is the largest recognised professional body in the world for the credit management community. Formed in 1939, the Institute was granted its Royal Charter in 2014. Representing all areas of the credit and collections lifecycle, it is the trusted leader and expert in its field providing its members with support, resources, advice, and career development as well as a networking and interactive community. In addition to its comprehensive suite of qualifications and learning opportunities, events and magazine ‘Credit Management’, the CICM administers the Prompt Payment Code for BEIS. Independently, and through collaboration with business organisations, it provides vital advice to businesses of all sizes on how best to manage cashflow and credit.

Media Contacts

Dun & Bradstreet
Louise Cavanagh
+44 (0) 1628 492133
+44 (0) 7545 300537

Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM)
Sean Feast
Gravity Public Relations
+44 (0) 207 330 8810
+ 44 (0)7778 045975
+ 44 (0)7748 945676