The evolution from manual labor to digitization is reaching a tipping point, as businesses, policymakers and workers grapple with the economic realities of automation. Businesses love automation for its cost-efficiency and productivity, whereas workers wonder about how it might affect their jobs. Although automation does address human redundancy, its economic impact has the potential to benefit society as a whole through innovation, cost-reduction and greater economies of scale. We’ve seen the same phenomenon in the I.T. industry over the past 30 years. Rather than undermine human work, technology has given us much more than we ever dreamed possible.
So, will automation affect our jobs? The answer is yes, and it will be far more beneficial than you’ve been led to believe.
An Era of Unprecedented Change
The shift toward digital labor is accelerating thanks to the convergence of robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning and data analytics. Like in previous decades, businesses are latching on to disruptive technologies to become more competitive in a globalized economy that is divided along winners and losers. Digital labor, or the work that is performed by RPA systems, is therefore viewed as the new currency of productivity. Without it, industries simply cannot compete.
There’s a lot at stake in the shift toward digital labor. Businesses that can transform their operations and adopt “lean” production will have a decided advantage over their competitors. While the digital labor transformation is accelerating, it is far from reaching critical mass. Most CFOs don’t know where to start, with many more completely unaware of the potential impact of RPA on their business.
Adopting a digital labor strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. You can hire an expensive consulting firm to strategize for you, or you can begin simply by asking which repetitive tasks your business currently performs that can be done more reliably through automation. If you’re in finance, you’ve probably noticed that it can take two months for your customer to pay you for products and services already delivered. Suppose you have thousands of customers. Is this not a process worthy of being automated?
Putting Digital Labor to Use
In the past, it wasn’t always possible to automate back-office operations, such as accounts receivable, H.R. or even complex supply chain management. But the digital age has given us A.I., big data and machine learning algorithms that allow us to better understand customer behavior, making it possible to develop automation software for roles that previously required cognition.
That’s exactly what YayPay offers: powerful software that streamlines bill collection and manages complex business relationships to reduce outstanding receivables. By plugging in YayPay, accounts receivable teams reduce their DSO by up to 30%.
A Brief Word on the Economic Impact
I mentioned above that automation will have a profound impact on the way we work. Automation and robotics are displacing jobs, but they’re also creating new ones as a result of technological change. Beyond that, technological innovation is lowering labor intensity, which boosts productivity. This virtuous cycle leads to a reduction in overall marginal costs, which spurs gains throughout the economy by pollinating other industries and creating greater job opportunities elsewhere.
In other words, technology has a multiplier effect, and automation’s economic footprint will be massive.
YayPay is an AR workflow software and CRM that empowers CFOs and AR Managers to accelerate cash flow and make AR management more productive. Click here to explore what automation can do for your AR department or schedule a demo.
 KMPG: Digital labor.