Software robots assisting humans is no longer a utopian scenario: we have seen the multiple benefits of automation in various industries and especially in highly regulated industries like finance and accounting. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is becoming mandatory for businesses worldwide – especially throughout the pandemic, since they have seen dramatic changes in businesses processes because of work-from-home strategies.
RPA can perform a variety of repetitive, high-volume tasks, allowing employees to focus on other strategic activities or tasks, and at the same providing an added-value for the company they work for. There is also another important aspect: software robots function 24/7 and they make zero mistakes.
According to Deloitte’s third annual RPA survey, at the current rate of growth, RPA adoption will become omnipresent in every company in some way in the next 2 years. Which means RPA will reach near-universal adoption in 2023.
At the same time, robotic process automation adoption will be gradual. 78% of respondents from Deloitte’s global survey who had already adopted this technology estimated an increase in their RPA investments during the next three years.
Another interesting aspect found by the Deloitte survey is that the Return On Investment (ROI) of RPA investments can be achieved in less than 12 months, taking into account the fact that software robots can deliver an average of 20% full-time equivalent capacity in the process.
According to Gartner, RPA can provide greater efficiency, compliance and productivity for the employees. Moreover, around 80% of finance leaders have implemented or are planning to implement RPA.
RPA use cases in finance and accounting
Financial institutions and companies’ financial departments have to keep track of all the personal information of their customers, like names or addresses, and these can change significantly over time.
Instead of extracting and manually processing all of the data, you can count on software robots for doing this in an efficient way and with a low (to non-existent) risk of committing errors.
Account opening and card activation
Account opening and card activation are time-consuming activities in finance and banking that require many operational processes to respect compliance rules – while customers can become impatient. Robotic process automation can perform these tasks faster and without error. Therefore, automation benefits not only the operational processes, but also customer service overall. Bonus? It also reduces the level of stress for your front-office employees.
Invoice processing and accounts receivable
There are a lot of details to be taken into consideration when processing or creating invoices – this being one of the most repetitive tasks for accounting. Large companies deal with a lot of received invoices from different contractors or suppliers that have to be registered in the financial records. With the help of robotic process automation (RPA), invoices can be automatically processed and the eventual mismatches can be fixed.
Software robots can even download bank statements and link them with some specific user accounts, validating transactions and providing financial statements. These tasks can be really time-consuming for accounting professionals, as they would have to extract the data and integrate them manually or through legacy systems.
And let’s not forget about compliance: RPA can gather data and see if there are any unusual operations.
Check out Vintila, the software robot for Reconciliation Process, developed by Aggranda for the Romanian Union of Road Carriers (UNTRR). Every morning, after all the invoices are imported in the ERP, Vintila reconciles the payments in advance with their corresponding invoices. After that, the software robot processes each line in the bank statement and records it in the ERP software.
Another great case study is offered by Kevin, a software robot that is part of the BestValue team, the biggest airport retail store in Romania. Read on (and watch the quick video) if you’re interested in finding out how Kevin helps the finance department with processing and reconciling payments.
Financial predictions and complex reports
One of the most critical aspects of a company’s welfare is creating detailed predictions in terms of budgets, investments and cost targets, in order to make strategic decisions. RPA proves to be a very useful tool for this process as well.
There’s a popular catchphrase that says ‘we cannot know what we cannot measure’ – so it’s of utmost importance to track the company’s performance in terms of revenue and profits. RPA in finance and accounting is useful to generate these reports, with zero error rate.
Cristian Ignat is Founder & CEO at Aggranda
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