Robotic Process Automation is fundamentally changing the way organizations work. The technology mimics human behavior and automates large volumes of rule-based tasks with greater accuracy, efficiency, and speed. Since accounting and financial operations involve a large amount of data processing that are labor-intensive and prone to error, organizations are increasingly adopting RPA for their processes. According to Gartner, about 80% of finance leaders across the globe have implemented or are planning to implement RPA in their organizations.
How RPA Benefits Accounting and Finance Operations
RPA bots can capture human workflow and imitate user actions. This includes file-handling tasks like storing, compressing, and extracting files, editing documents, copying and pasting data, and logging into applications. Numerous other user actions can be mimicked by RPA bots to streamline accounting processes such as invoice processing. RPA bots can process invoices even if they are submitted in different document formats (such as Microsoft Word or PDF), as a paper copy, or retrieved from the company’s database by using natural language processing (NLP) and optical character recognition (OCR).
Bots can be trained to add in missing data to complete processing and even send emails automatically. Consequently, human employees are now required to spend far less time performing mundane and repetitive tasks and instead focus on strategic business functions increasing individual as well as organizational productivity.
Cheaper and Faster
Unlike human employees, RPA bots don't get tired meaning they can work around the clock with consistent efficiency and accuracy. This frees up resources and cuts down costs significantly. According to Gartner, RPA in finance costs one-third the amount of an offshore employee and one-fifth of an onshore employee.
Security and Compliance
RPA largely prevents the disclosure of sensitive information and tasks. Automation of monotonous rule-based tasks eliminates the risk of errors. However, in the fast-paced environment of RPA, an error in automated processing can lead to greater ramifications than mistakes committed by human employees. This can be mitigated by having oversight and control mechanisms.
Compliance issues are a major concern of financial departments as they remain one of the most meticulously regulated departments. RPA can meet all compliance regulations by timestamping transactions, process dates, and automatically attaching documentation. While a human user may inadvertently miss these steps that ensure compliance, RPA is programmed to eliminate compliance concerns.
Enhanced Customer Experience
With the speed and accuracy with which accounting and financial processes are completed, customers can be serviced more efficiently at a much lower cost. RPA bots eliminate errors in accounting leading to increased customer satisfaction.
As mentioned above, many leaders are turning to RPA to enhance their operations. RPA tools like UiPath and Blue Prism are helping automate accounting and financial processes seamlessly. With low maintenance costs, shorter implementation times, increased efficiency, and reduced resources, RPA is revolutionizing accounting and financial services.