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Robotic Process Automation

The 6 Ways RPA Adds Up for Finance

It’s likely that some of your financial processes are automated, but not all. With all the advances around automating invoice processing, sales orders, financial posting, payment approval, purchase requisition approval and more, one would think enterprises have this part of the business all dialed in with no manual work being performed. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

I talk to clients every week, and the story they tell me is how they have invested over the years in technologies like capture (OCR) and business process management. While their investments have achieved great success with automating core financial operations, they still struggle closing the last remaining gaps.

Every business is going have some automation gaps in their financial processes. I have yet to meet one customer who says “We have it all covered.” I bet you still have employees logging into many different portals to get customer and supplier information or to upload documents. Sales orders and quotes are mostly automated, but often still require a human to work with third-party systems to configure, price, get reseller price lists and validate sales order information.

The Cognizant Center for the Future of Work estimates that organizations automate 25 to 40 percent of their workflow today. Perhaps you’ve automated accounts payable functions like scanning invoices and routing information through an approval workflow, or standard billing.

See how Arrow Electronics solved their highly manual special quotes and invoices problem with robotic process automation.

You have three basic options for dealing with highly manual processes that can’t be automated with traditional financial process automation solutions:basic options for dealing with highly manual processes that can’t be automated with traditional financial process automation solutions:

  1. Throw more people at the problem, whether in-house, outsource or offshore
  2. Invest in custom development to work around your legacy ERP technology
  3. Deploy robotic process automation to bridge your automation gaps

How Top Companies Achieve Financial Operations Automation

An Ardent Partners report on The State of ePayables 2017 observed that “Best-in-class businesses are 2.6 times more likely than others to harness the power of robotic process automation as part of their greater AP strategy and programs.”

Here are 6 reasons RPA is the right choice for bridging those automation gaps.

1. Deploys ultra-fast

Custom integrations require a developer and often get bumped to the bottom of the priority pile, leaving your employees to serve as human APIs, logging into several applications and portals to retrieve information to and from systems that don’t talk to each other. An RPA solution that automates those integrations can be launched in days or weeks instead of months, in many cases without the need for a developer.

2. Plays nice with other systems

The heartbeat of your financial operations is your ERP, but much data resides outside of it in multiple, disparate internal and external sources. Robotic process automation complements your ERP by accessing that data and integrating it without requiring a re-engineering of proven processes.

3. Flexes and stretches with your organization

Whether you deploy RPA for a specific use case like retrieving invoices from portals or as an enterprise-wide initiative from your Center of Excellence, the technology is well-suited to fill in one or all of your financial process automation gaps.

4. Frees your employees from rote, manual work

Would your staff be happier and more productive logging into hundreds of portals to pull invoice information…or in reviewing that information and sending it out sooner to receive early pay discounts and transform AP into a value center within the company? Are they better off copying and pasting Excel data into your ERP, or reviewing the financial close documents from a strategic viewpoint?

5. Works 24/7

With a workday that never ends, a digital workforce of robots can increase capacity and decrease processing times, which is critical in time-sensitive financial processes like interacting with e-Invoicing portals posting or downloading invoice data or following up on outstanding payments, sales order fulfillment that falls outside the normal business process, and financial close tasks that are extraordinary time consuming.

6. Eliminates human errors

A small cut-and-paste or accounting error can blow up into a disproportionate number of errors—not to mention a compliance nightmare. Automated technology eliminates human error and completes processes the same way, every time.

Bridge the gaps in your financial rel="noopener noreferrer" process automation with Complete the Productivity Picture in Finance: A Guide to Robotic Process Automation. Download your copy now.