The finance department at month-end is often a dragon pit filled with overworked staff that spend a full week working 16 hour days just to get all the numbers in before... Month-end. I am by no means an accountant but it seems that this brutal repetitive process could be somewhat assisted through automated processes be it workflow automation or Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Introduction to RPA
Robotic Process Automation or RPA is simply a software robot that emulates anything that an individual can do on a PC. This robot, lets call him Larry, is to be treated like any normal employee would with regards to onboarding, training and assignment of responsibility. The difference being that this new employee loves repetitive, mundane, high-volume work that is often prone to error and can work 24/7/365. Additionally, Larry will do as you say and will never forget to perform any task that is required in a process. This allows you to utilise your human employees to look after tasks that require strategic thinking and adaptability.
I am going to run through a use case that was completed that will showcase how RPA can assist with month-end:
Reduce the time spent with running month-end processes, which include: entering supplier invoices, banking of all cash receipts, processing all POS payments, reconciling accounts, processing payroll, journal entries, entering loan and asset information, updating inventory, closing out sub-ledgers and delivering financial filings to regulatory bodies. These processes are often complex, burdensome and involve multiple systems, departments and people.
Utilising RPA, a finance department can automatically perform 80% the functionalities as listed above. This can be done consistently throughout the month without having to stress about the reliability of the information nor human error during processing. With RPA, a bot can periodically and automatically post data to sub-ledgers, aggregate data into a comprehensive report ready for filing to regulatory bodies and automate the complete procure to pay process ensuring that nothing is lost or forgotten during the process.
Advantages of RPA
Aggregate data from legacy systems without the need to get IT involved
Reconcile balances by comparing the ledger account with the back-up for that account
Streamline journal entry in combination with workflow tools. Workflow tools handle approval whilst RPA creates the journal entries
Capture data from multiple areas within the business with "Larry" consistently querying different teams across the organisation for critical information to reduce the administrative burden often put on your finance team.
Guarantee compliance with any regulatory body by having the bot cover specific processes that have to be followed on a monthly basis
Allow your finance team to complete month-end activities more accurately, consistently and in far less time - no more dragon pit
Automate aggregation, validation and presentation of data
Ensure compliance to international standards at all times
Have real time information whenever you need it
The following video showcases an example of an accounts payable process being automated which resulted in reducing the workload of the accounts team to focus on more strategic endeavors.
We experienced the benefits of RPA consistently across the business units, specifically finance. If you are wanting more information as to how you start your RPA journey just contact us and we can run through a complete value proposition of RPA in 5 minutes.