– Collection and Disbursement
User experience is the key
Why smart applications are desirable in payment transactions
Logical instead of complex: Digitisation of accounting on the rise
In insurance companies, the digitization of accounting is steadily advancing. Whether general ledger or subledger – the digitization of receivables management brings only advantages. With one exception: the software user interface is often complicated and sometimes illogical for sub-ledger processing. Acceptance of the work tool and productivity can suffer as a result. The solution is to focus on the user experience. A holistically oriented user experience (UX) includes the usability of a system – in products or services. Good usability is not perceived in the UX, but bad usability is.
– Fast Lane
In this article you will learn:
About the experts
Simone Schmid works as a consultant in Functional-Technical Consulting with a focus on Subledger Accounting in the IKOR Dock Assurance.
André Langensiepen is Chief Product Owner in Dock Portals Solutions at IKOR.
Sandra Goetz is a freelance journalist specializing in digitization/economics.
“In UC design, the focus is on the user/operator rather than the end customer. In this case, the employee in the subledger.”
“If I as an employer want to attract talent with the topic of innovative accounting, I also have to show that with my technology”
The technologization of accounting processes is one side of the coin. The other side is user experience. Why is user experience important for accounting?
Simone Schmid: That’s easy to answer: because in accounting – be it general or sub-ledger accounting – there is interaction with people.
... that means?
Schmid: This is about “User Centric Design” trends, which we find in all areas. In UC design, the focus is on the user/operator rather than the end customer. In this case, the employee in the subledger. Employees can add their greatest value when they understand and actively use the best technology with well-designed user interfaces. Good and efficient work achieves the greatest added value when employees understand and actively apply it.
Does the user interface represent the most important productivity opportunity?
Schmid: Yes. The user interface should be designed according to the user’s tasks, not the other way around. To do this, employees need a screen that helps them keep track of all the information they need – regardless of whether it comes from system A or B. This has to happen quickly, without having to click through ten transactions until they find something.
Speaking of speed, what about mobility?
Schmid: Workplace mobility is changing. Employees are expected to work from anywhere, often with different interfaces. One important aspect here is what is known as Responsive Design. This is the technical possibility of adapting website layouts to the user’s end device.
“The user interface should be designed, if possible, according to the user’s tasks and not vice versa”
In other industries, this has been an important topic for years, but for insurance companies it is new ...
Schmid: Yes. Here, too, the employee is no longer sitting exclusively in front of a desktop; they also use tablets and smartphones. This can be especially useful for field service. Here, an application should not only be presented in a user-friendly way on the normal screen, but also on all other end user devices
André Langensiepen: I completely agree with your assessment, Simone Consider that people spend a lot of time at home – using smart devices; TV, smartphone, notebook and tablet. People are comfortable in their private lives navigating different UI’s; music, streaming TV services, smart thermostats and online banking. The question arises as to why they can’t have the same experience at work. Especially in accounting, one might well ask: Why is that?
In concrete terms, employees’ expectations for device usability have grown apace with the technology / device landscape.
Langensiepen: At least as far as the process is concerned. An interface must be intuitive and clearly laid out. That’s what users expect today! Whether she’s using an app or surfing the web. Usability determines whether a product is successful or not.
Does this automatically mean that insurance companies will have to make adjustments in order to remain competitive?
Langensiepen: Yes. If I want to be more attractive as an employer and attract talent and younger employees with the topic of innovative accounting, I have to show that with the technology I use. It is not just about the hardware and software, but also about usability, which should be “state of the art”. Then companies get a higher acceptance.
Insurers have been rebuilding entire systems for several years now, so why hasn't this been an issue?
Langensiepen: Typically, businesses look at the customer first. The idea of employees as internal customers is being rediscovered. More specifically, the Corona pandemic and working from home make it clear that workflows have to adapt to changing work environments. An accounting department working from home requires VPN access and a hardware token, among other things. When an employee has the alternative to work on a responsive website, with well designed UI, their work is more efficient and faster.
Schmid: Case processing across system boundaries is becoming increasingly important.
Was bedeutet „Anschlussfähigkeit“ entsprechend und ganz konkret für In- und Exkasso?
Schmid: Case processing across system boundaries is becoming increasingly important. The goal here is to look not only at subledger accounting, but at the entire insurance process. The internal user experience is a key part of effective case processing.
The interface must be built in such a way that insurance companies can save on training costs.
“Avoiding media disruptions and keeping the clerk’s eye on the customer”
In addition to high-level automation in collection and disbursement processes, the remaining manual processing steps must be convenient to perform ...
Schmid: Correct. The best way to do this is to integrate them into a holistic portal. This avoids media discontinuities between the inventory, claims and collection systems. The overall customer view always remains in focus for accounting staff.
How do you see UX in the near future?
Langensiepen: User-friendly software interfaces are becoming more prevalent. As application UIs become more intuitive, companies should see a corresponding decrease in training efforts and costs.
With what possibilities and consequences?
Langensiepen: If the UI is well designed, for example using context-sensitive help in form fields, employee efficiency and productivity will improve dramatically. Ideally, employees like working with the app or website.
How far along is the software market here?
Langensiepen: Accordingly, a user-friendly interface has to be built in such a way that training effort is simplified and reduced. For example, SAP itself has recognized that historically evolved user interfaces are not very attractive, clear or usable. The training effort for SAP modules such as SAP FS-CD is relatively high. SAP has been relying on its own UX technology, Fiori, for several years.
Schmid: IKOR has separately addressed the topic of UX. We have developed a prototype that provides key data collection clearly and quickly from the perspective of a service employee. It doesn’t necessarily have to come down to Fiori, though. IKOR offers customers the advantage to get this user-friendly technology free when you elevate your SAP software to SAP S/4 HANA. SAP has not yet delivered any Fiori apps for SAP FS-CD.