RPA in Finance and Accounting | Redesigning Operational Excellence through Automation


Author: Tangent Solutions

Published: 24 February 2021

RPA in Finance and Accounting has been lauded as one of the early adoptions of game-changing technology that allows companies in these industries to boost productivity, lower costs and save much-needed time carrying out their profession. If you think about it, how many people still visit their bank branches or accountant’s office? 

With 80% of finance leaders having either successfully piloted, or intending to implement elements of Robotic Process Automation, digital technologies will play a crucial role in transforming everyday finance and accounting operations. Thanks to the advent of robotic process automation, many mundane processes, and transactions, previously carried out by humans, are now handled by software programmes, which can replicate tedious tasks quicker, practically error-free, and around the clock. 

This article outlines how the adoption of RPA in Finance and Accounting enables your business to free up repetitive and mundane processes, reshaping your team’s focus on providing more intelligent customer support or tackling the more challenging requests that come through.

What Processes Can be Automated in your Business?

From service delivery and sales, right through to customer service and after-sales, think of many of the tedious processes that take up most of your team’s work hours? Long-drawn processes, such as order to cash, and the procure to pay workflows represent some of the ideal candidates for your entry point to automation in finance through RPA. When starting out with RPA in finance and accounting, identify which processes that add real business value and can be sustained and scaled in the long run. Some of the most common RPA opportunities for businesses in the sector include;

  • Order to Cash

The entire order processing lifecycle plays a crucial role in every finance or accounting practice. Yet, with different departments sharing and editing documents, input errors and processing delays can have a detrimental impact, not only on sales but your entire reputation. According to Aspire Systems, automating the entire Order to Cash workflow can reduce the cost to process an order by 30 times!

  • Quote and Pricing Generation

A major application or RPA in finance and accounting, is quoting clients for the personalised solutions they require. Automating this time-consuming task accurately monitors any price changes in a matter of seconds, ensuring that error-free quotes are quickly compiled and sent to interested clients.

  • Procure to Pay

Maintaining accuracy and efficiency in the Procure to Pay process can be streamlined and executed on autopilot through the deployment of software bots to handle the core processes of document processing, matching, and the processing of payments. Both Optical (OCR) and intelligent character recognition (ICR) can create significant reductions in average handling times while allowing much of the tedious data extraction of invoices to be carried out without human intervention.

  • Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable

One of the best candidates to completely transform the slowest wagon in your organisation is the digitisation of Accounts Payable through RPA. The entire workflow, from invoice data capture, through to matching and payment posting, can be re-engineered to execute payments quickly and accurately, on time to your vendors while your AP department focuses on higher-value tasks. On the other end of the same spectrum, software bots can be programmed to imitate the processes involved in Accounts Receivable across multiple systems. With less reliance on external documents, this ensures that invoices get paid faster while eliminating the costly risk of human error. Implementing RPA for both AP and AR creates greater compliance, increases the efficiency of your finance team, while generating significant time and cost savings that repays the cost of its implementation in a matter of weeks or months.

  • Report Generation and Reconciliation

Why should employees spend hours of their valuable time analysing and compiling reports, when RPA bots can extract important information, and generate accurate reports in a fraction of the time? Furthermore, through the power of data analytics, RPA can identify actionable insights and trends which provide opportunities to upsell and grow your business. The reconciliation of accounting data from several sources can also be bridged by RPA, with any discrepancy’s invoices being accurately detected in a fraction of the time that it would normally take your employees to individually reconcile.

The Ongoing Benefits of RPA to Finance and Accounting Teams

By starting small and scaling up as your productivity and efficiencies increase, there are many benefits that companies can enjoy as RPA transforms the way they do business. These include;

  • Less Paperwork
  • Faster Payment Turnaround Times
  • Error-Free Invoice Processing and Reconciliation
  • Quicker Customer Approvals
  • Enhanced Compliance and Fraud Detection
  • Better Customer Delivery
  • Higher Profits

In everyday situations where finance and accounting professionals are often preoccupied with compiling 20-page reports, analysing extensive price lists and communicating with new and existing clients across multiple digital platforms, RPA eliminates a huge chunk of time spent on processing these documents and conversations, freeing up your team’s time, expertise, and resources to focus on human-centric tasks that directly impact the success and growth of your business.

RPA – the Steppingstone to your Company’s Future Success

UiPath, a global leader in the development of RPA software, imagines a world with a robot for every person. In the same way that mobile phones and laptops have become an extension of our everyday lives to execute numerous tasks, RPA creates a future where software robots become our virtual assistants to assist with everyday tasks, both simple and complex. If we can avoid the conspiracy that robots will replace finance and accounting roles, companies can herald the arrival or RPA, by removing the mundane and boring, and reshaping current jobs into more engaging, intellectually challenging roles. 

With close 70% of businesses expected to implement RPA by 2022, virtually any business stands to reap the benefits of RPA in finance and accounting, while giving new meaning to how you deliver services and foster client relationships. If you are a financial or accounting company looking to boost productivity, lower costs and increase efficiencies through emerging technologies, we are here to assist you on your RPA journey. 

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