The Journey to Joining Ashling Partners: Challenge, Change & Opportunity.

by | Sep 13, 2021 | Automation, Future of Work

Meet the Author

intelligent automation
James Wilson, Advisory, Finance & Accounting at Ashling Partners

My Journey to Intelligent Automation

My journey to intelligent automation brings to mind three things: challenge, change, and opportunity. Every challenge requires change. And with change comes opportunity. 

As a member of the Advisory Group at Ashling, all three of these concepts influenced my career and my reason for joining the company. My current focus is on intelligent automation, and I wanted to share my journey as a way to demonstrate that challenges can be overcome. Change is usually good, and opportunity is always discernible if you look in the right place.

Intelligent Automation: Challenge, Change, and Opportunities

I sought out these three facets of everyday activity throughout my career to give me purpose. After graduating from the University of Colorado Boulder, I embarked on an accounting career. However, I didn’t take the traditional Big 4 route. Instead, I went directly into corporate accounting, moving to the Bay Area to immerse myself in the hub of technology. The company I worked for wasn’t the typical big tech player. I did have a playground to challenge what it meant to be an accountant, change the established process, and find opportunities to grow.

With the mindset that I’d rather invest time up front, I consistently streamlined my work rather than continually doing tedious, low-value work, which is abundant in the accounting space. This led to an opportunity to lead the RTR business team in an SAP FI/CO implementation.

That experience changed me. I became an accounting professional who could bridge the gap between technology and accounting and finance. From there, I challenged myself to continue implementing and enhancing the accounting and finance technology for the whole accounting team. That included a consolidation and planning module, accounting tools for account recons, SEC filings, and others.  

My company then commenced a plan to centralize much of the transactional accounting function. At that time, we learned about robotic process automation (RPA), which was already popular in the shared services space. My team quickly realized this was an opportunity. To seize it, we added automation software solutions UiPath, ABBYY, and K2 to our tool belt. As a result, we gained a strong understanding of how automation would change and evolve the future of finance. Finance automation improves process flow, eliminates a lot of manual work, and delivers cost savings.

Those accomplishments were exciting, and I was glad to be a part of them. I was then ready for a new challenge and wanted to be closer to family. I wanted to dive into hyperautomation, and Ashling Partners was the right fit for my next move.

Hyperautomation and the Future of Work

Hyperautomation describes a business-driven, disciplined approach to rapidly identifying, vetting, and automating as many business processes as possible. In short, it’s the scaling of automation across the enterprise. It is different from automation; hyperautomation is process-centric, whereas automation focuses on tasks.

It involves RPA, low-code, AI, and other technologies with the goal of eliminating human intervention in repetitive, low-value tasks. With the support of automation, people can spend more time on higher-level work.

The path we’ve defined for hyperautomation includes our 4 As: advisory, automation, analytics, and AI. We combine strategic objectives with best practices. On these pillars, we can build the future of work with hyperautomation, one in which digital robots and human talent collaborate to streamline processes from every department. 

As a result, businesses can see many benefits, which I’m glad to evangelize. Hyperautomation improves employee experiences and engagement. It also aligns business objectives to business processes, influenced by continuous improvement. Digital flexibility and system integration are two more advantages.

Onward and Upward with Intelligent Automation

Being passionate about intelligent automation and hyperautomation means I’m excited about the work I do at Ashling Partners and with our partners and clients. In addition, my experiences with challenges, change, and opportunities are helpful reminders as I support others on their finance automation journey.

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