Many organizations chose the Finance and Accounting function as a starting point for their RPA efforts.
Finance and accounting tasks typically involve interacting with external partners (Customers, Suppliers, Partners) and the tasks performed in this part of the organization can involve a lot of manual, tedious, and repetitive steps. The automation potential in this area tends to be very high. The savings for some of the processes can be as high as 70% - 80% for some Finance and Accounting processes in the organization.
Some areas within Finance and Accounting with a large number of use cases that are suitable for RPA :
The diverse landscape of vendors and suppliers, with a wide variety of B2B integration capabilities, creates gaps in the Source to Pay process.
From managing the order intake process to processing all aspects of the Accounts Receivable (AR) processes, any gaps that get in the way can create unnecessary manual work.
Even in organizations that have a solid foundation of financial accounting systems, the process for regular internal and external reporting can be very time consuming.
Timely processing of entries related to allocations, processing intercompany transfers and performing fixed asset accounting on a routine basis.
Finance and Accounting systems can offer a high degree of integration to the suppliers, vendors, partners, and customers that are part of the ecosystem of any organization. However, integrations even when using more contemporary integration methods, can be expensive to develop and costly to maintain. Beyond the most critical of integrations, organizations cannot justify the cost of integrating with every system.
RPA can be a leveraged as a great way to provide an alternative to these costly system-level integrations.
Many of the upstream and downstream tasks in an organization's Finance and Accounting function still require manual processing. These are not one time tasks, but rather, these are tasks that have to be performed regularly. Even with organizations employing BPO strategies with offshore partners, the cost of these repetitive tasks can grow as the organization grows. RPA can further impact this cost reduction equation by offloading these repetitive tasks and performing them on a 24x7 basis at no additional cost.
There is generally a high error rate in data entry tasks when there are a high number of manual steps associated with a process. Overworked team members trying to keep up with a large volume of manual tasks tend to make more mistakes, especially when dealing with repetitive mundane tasks. These errors can create re-work which can further add to the cost, or worse, can be costly due to material impact on the business if they go without being corrected.
As organizations look for a higher level of agility in decision making, there is a need for faster access to collated data for decision making. RPA can give organizations the ability to process data extracts and apply the appropriate programmatic adjustments based on business rules in a very efficient manner.
Manage invoice collection and entry into back office systems, validate and confirm invoice data, flag exceptions and send notifications for resolution, submit transactions for processing.
Invoice generation and handling. manage billing, receivables posting, aging and receivables.
Schedule data extracts needed for close, identify missing or incomplete data, trigger alerts to update data in upstream systems, exchange rate updates, posting of regular and repetitive closing entries, e.g., accruals.
Schedule report generation for regulators, shareholders, debt holders, securities exchanges, external auditors.
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