Automation vs Manual – Which is better?

By Avdhesh Sharma — In Process Automation, Tax Automation, Tax Strategy — June 26, 2023



When it comes to choose between manual process and automated process, obvious response is Automated Process. But any organization would like to weigh the options before taking a call between the two. Let’s look at the different options available and the associated costs

  1. Excel is working fine for us – Organizations build excel workbooks to execute repetitive tasks and hire people who are good at using excel. This always gives a perception that it a one time activity to create an excel worksheet and execute the tasks. So, the associated recurring cost is the resource (s) cost, who is good at excel.
  2. Customized software is working fine for us – Organizations get custom software for their specific needs to solve a specific business need and usually maintained by inhouse teams afterwards. Associated cost is one time cost for the software and resource (s) cost, who is (are) maintaining the software.
  3. We have outsourced* the process – Outsourcing is a comfortable option to take away the workload and give it to professionals who are doing it for multiple customers. Control on process and audit support will vary upon the scope of services defined and the service provider internal processes. Associated costs is the recurring cost incurred periodically and is derived from multiple factors like data volume to be handled, locations etc. This price may change if any of the variables will change.

Let’s look at top three benefits an organization can harness if it implements a standard software product, which can automate the repetitive tasks with the assumption that the skill required to use the software is to be able to browse internet

  • Scalable solution to take care of growing business needs of an organization. A good software helps organization to increase productivity and add to profitability by improving KPA’s like Revenue per employee
  • Always work on latest – Software is updated regularly with latest regulatory changes and technology. There is no associated cost for upgrading the product as it is covered in recurring subscription charges
  • Audit Performance – Software built with security framework has well defined architecture for data access, security(with defined audit trails, workflows etc.) and backup. In case of regulatory audits, software gives a framework to present the data in a defined manner to substantiate the task executed few years ago

For any organization looking to grow their business, profitability and audit performance – it is simple to choose between automated process and manual process. However, it is imperative to layout a roadmap for process automation and prioritize in order to reap the benefits early.

*Assumption for outsourced process is that the service provider has manual processes

What are the levers you would look at while choosing between the two?

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