We caught up with Chris, Aico’s Closing Automation Specialist, after an eventful few weeks of attending events with financial professionals from across Europe.
Chris loves attending events, saying, “We have the opportunity to engage in automation initiatives and actively participate in solving customer problems.”
His most recent event was the Aico Insights in Amsterdam, where customers and potential customers unite with one goal in mind – improving their record-to-report process with Aico
Pure Gold - The Aico Insights inspiration
“The inspiration for the first Aico insights happened when we went to Amsterdam to record a webinar with some customers. Afterwards, we all sat down for lunch. And it was during this lunch that the customers started talking to each other, started to learn from each other,” Chris explains.
“As we listened, we realised that this discussion was invaluable... it needed to continue. In a flash, we started planning... we decided to bring our customers and product experts together so we could address their questions and devise solutions right then and there.”
So now, we utilise this time to take our customers to the next level with Aico. These Insight events assist them in maximising the functionality of the tool and providing tangible improvements in their key areas of focus:
All our customers are trying to do the best for their organisation and create efficiencies and reduce costs while maintaining quality and compliance. Because they all have this in common, they love to talk to each other and share those challenges.
Amsterdam 2023: Uncovering 7 Key Concern
After spending time at the Aico Insights events, Chris identified seven major topics.
1. Automation on the agenda – Achieving more with less
"Our customers possess a powerful tool in Aico, and they want to learn how to fully leverage their investment. For example, one customer shared how they used our journal splitting function to reduce one month of manual work to just 20 minutes. It's incredibly gratifying to receive such feedback because time and cost savings are always high on a company's priority list."
2. What’s Next – Safeguarding the Future
"The financial world is acutely aware of the ongoing impact of the global situation. Naturally, our customers wanted to discuss how our automation can help them adapt to fluctuating demand, tightening compliance legislation, and the significant advancements in AI that we’re witnessing."
3. It’s All About Efficiency – Reducing Manual Work
“Given their pivotal nature and the impressive ROI, customers wanted to know more about:
· Journal automation
· Account reconciliation
· Intercompany Invoicing”
4. Nothing is Fixed – Everything is Flexible
“The requests module is always important to our customers. Because, although we talk about Aico in terms of modules, there really aren’t any modules. We find this is a useful way to categorise them so that customers instantly understand, but in reality, Aico is a platform of endlessly configurable templates.
“This means we can combine account reconciliation and closing templates into something completely unique for a specific customer. These requested templates (hence the name) cover functionality that might never have been done before. Aico can be infinitely configured to a very granular level, so our customers can get something truly exceptional.”
5. Innovation in Your Hands – Robots in Financial Close
"Unlike other providers with set modular functionality, Aico offers highly customisable templates. Through these Aico Insights events, we discover how our customers have taken Aico to the next level. For instance, one customer has started using robots to assist in filling data in Aico templates.
"It's innovations like these that reinforce our belief that Aico is a genuinely future-proof tool, limited only by imagination rather than configuration. As our customers grasp the concept that there are no pre-defined modules, but rather a single platform of templates that can be configured to address specific processes and workflows, they can start working on their wish list."
6. Beyond Live Integration – Choose Your Own Direction
"In addition to our live integrations with ERPs like SAP and EBS, Aico now empowers customers to import data from file-based external sources and populate templates on a scheduled basis. This new form of integration has significantly expanded the possibilities for our customers. It truly makes us ERP-agnostic, and our customers are thrilled because they can innovate in whichever direction they desire. Aico doesn't impose any restrictions on their chosen path."
7. Questioning the Norm – Configuring Tomorrow, Today
“Another hot topic at the Aico Insights event was report routing automation. This functionality is an excellent way to achieve efficiencies through automation, and our customers were eager to discuss it. They can utilise this feature to generate reports and automate subsequent tasks such as journal creation or performing calculations in Excel and creating the journals.
“These events work well because our customers can delve into more details. They are always asking
‘How can we do this less manually?’
‘How does that work?’
And of course, ‘How do you automate that?’
Creating a Problem-Solving Ecosystem
"Now that we have our product experts on hand, they can offer immediate suggestions, making these Insights events highly responsive," Chris concludes.
"Through this approach, we create a problem-solving ecosystem that continually evolves with new customer-led solutions."
To summarise his experience, Chris emphasises, "My main takeaway from the Aico Insight event is that our customers are seeking a combination of AI and automation as much as possible, with human decision-making as the ultimate deciding factor. Together, we are heading in that direction."
The next Aico Insights will take place in Helsinki later in 2023.