In this era of rapidly growing technology, robotic process automation (RPA) is turning out to be one of the most exciting concepts. RPA helps enterprises to transform business processes by aligning the accounting software or a bot to perform time-consuming, laborious tasks.
Accounting processes like accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) are essential for the proper functioning of businesses. However, they also create troubles for many business owners. Both AR and AP involve a lot of reiterative, tiresome manual work that can always be prone to human error.
However, the robotic automation process can make a lot of difference. It is already transforming the finance and accounting processes. According to an estimation from Ernst and Young, the RPA can reduce overall business costs by 50 to 70 percent.
Benefits, like improving the business accounting software, optimizing end-of-month accounting, and restructuring the payable accounts, are already looking very promising. Before moving on to the benefits, here is a little insight into RPA.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is promising to be a milestone in the business world and can completely transform businesses.
RPA is the combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning, being developed to control the high-volume, repetitive tasks that are mostly performed by humans.
Depending on the field in which it is applied, it enhances the convenience and can promptly perform tasks like calculations, queries, maintenance of records, transactions, and invoicing, etc.
RPA technology is centered on software robots that can mimic a human worker. The RPA bots can be applied to enter data, applications, complete, and perform complex computing tasks.
RPA is not a part of the IT industry – it is above it! It will allow companies to use technology more effectively and quickly than ever before. The best part – there is no need to change the foundation of the current IT infrastructure!
The key difference between the existing IT model and RPA is that the latter can learn and adapt to the changing situations, exceptions, and different circumstances.
RPA software needs to be trained to capture and manipulate the data processes in already existing software applications. If it is trained correctly, it can completely change the scenario of the IT industry.
Let’s find out some advantages of RPA:
RPA robots can mimic the actions of human users within specific workflows. They can smoothly perform complex tasks like logging into applications, moving files and folders, copying and pasting the data, filling in forms, scraping browsers, extracting structured and semi-structured data from documents, and a lot more. This saves you a lot of time and also frees up some of your staff members.
It enables you to deploy your staff members to different higher-value business functions that automatically increase your business’ productivity.
Usually, the invoice data is unstructured. It has to be extracted from various locations before it can be entered into a company’s system. The manual transfer of this complex data is not only time-consuming but also prone to human error. The process of data transfer can be challenging for traditional business accounting software.
RPA will not only transfer the data with the utmost ease, but it can also be programmed in such a way that it can search and insert the data to the correct location. It can increase productivity to a great extent.
As an accountant, you may have encountered invoices in a lot of different formats and layouts e.g., word document, PDF, excel sheets, papers, etc. It can be a little challenging for computers to process these invoices and to generate correct output.
Although there has been an absolute improvement in the performance of optical character recognition (OCR) software that can play a critical role in the RPA invoicing process, the robots can now learn from the machine and can recognize different formats of the invoices. It helps accountants to approve the documents quickly and generate invoices faster than ever.
Processing cost has been a point of concern, especially for small business enterprises. RPA can successfully reduce the processing cost by an impressive 80%.
In short, RPA can be time-saving, as well as money-saving.
You can’t deny the possibility of human error even if you are using the best accounting software. The risk of errors also gets higher when it comes to AP and AR processes.
Robotic process automation is up to the mark with compliance regulations and standards as well. Every step is performed with a specific process and is also recorded for future reference.
It is programmed to follow the rules strictly. It never makes mistakes. It never tires. It is consistent. And most importantly, it is compliant!
Most of the accounting departments suffer from the exhausting end-of-month transactions. Handling transactions take up a lot of time.
Some departments require multiple accounting software for different purposes. These lengthy rule-based processes are not only time-consuming but also, hectic for the accountants.
Automating these complex processes using RPA won’t only streamline end-of-month accounting but also, make it error-proof.
The month-end transactions will become a fun thing for the accounting teams. They will get enough time to focus on other essential aspects of accounting.
Underwriting is an essential process for several business organizations. On the other hand, it is not only a highly repetitive process but a highly expensive one as well. RPA can automatically collect, assemble, and present data to the dashboard and save a lot of money and time.
The time saved due to RPA can allow underwriters to focus on providing high-value customer interactions, which can automatically result in increased customer satisfaction and of course, increased productivity.
The global finance delivery process is a combination of several sub-processes, including foot, cross-footing, recalculating balance timesheet, checking for internal consistency, and PY tie-outs, etc. The whole process of reporting can be very complex, time-consuming, and repetitive.
Using accounting software inspired by the RPA with natural language processing (NLP) will make it easier to analyze the textual contexts, validate primary balance sheets, extract tables in PDFs, and manage other financial data.
RPA is providing significant benefits including accuracy, speed, and increased productivity. The fuss about robots “stealing jobs” is nothing more than speculation. It is widely implemented, not just because it is drastically cost-saving, but it also gives accounting staff opportunities to focus on interesting, strategic, and valuable tasks. All these things will inspire energy, positivity, and empowerment at the workplace.
Lack of knowledge, skills, tiredness, etc. is associated with humans. There is nothing like that with RPA. It can reduce the occurrence of errors. As a result, it also reduces the overall operational risk.
Having a clear vision for the future is the key to the success of an organization. RPA drastically improves visibility into opportunities and future risks. It automatically analyzes extensive data and assists humans in using their unique capabilities to study future trends and anomalies.
It will be beneficial to be ready for future opportunities and challenges.
RPA technology may sound very complicated to the accountants. But it is nothing like that. Applying the RPA technology to accounting software is extremely easy and straightforward. It is not going to be a strange thing for accounting programs.
As discussed earlier, RPA mimics human actions. It won’t make any coding changes to your system or software, which makes it adaptable for almost every business.
Programs like CRM, ERP, and other industry-specific applications are more than ideal for Robotic Process Automation. The bot can simultaneously work around different applications, matching different business processes and workflows.
As an accountancy firm, you can’t think about succeeding if you are relying on old accounting processes. If you want to gain a competitive edge in the market, you have to adapt to different market demands.
You can establish an agile foundation by investing enough in Robotic Automation Technology. The agility promoted by RPA will ensure scaling-up, scaling down, taking on new challenges, branching out, minimizing overhead, growing your capacity, and being efficient and focused on your strategic and workforce initiatives.
RPA is not only time-saving and cost-effective, but it can also speed up the overall processing time. This will allow accountants to serve their customers properly.
When an accountant takes time to process the accounts payable invoice, vendors and customers get frustrated. It may result in an unwanted interruption in the overall working chain.
Human errors and slowdowns while processing the bills can even create an unwanted rift with the customers, possibly causing them to think about choosing a different competitor.
When processes run smoothly, employees can focus on delivering the promise they made to their customers. As a result, the entire business will work like a well-oiled machine, which is always excellent for the company.
You can’t imagine the accountancy industry without cloud computing, at least not in this era. Coupling the cloud accounting software with RPA offers immense advantages.
For business owners, cloud-native RPA can operate as a self-service technology that can be easily accessed through a graphical interface from anywhere.
Using RPA, you can get the benefits of robotics without having in-depth knowledge about robotics. In short, RPA can completely change the dynamics of cloud technology.
One thing is certain in the promising future of robotics – people having one-dimensional skills are going to struggle. As an accountant, you can’t think about surviving only with old-school methods of accounting.
There are two ways of looking at the future of accounting with RPA. If you see it in general, you might think that robotics will make people jobless. On the other hand, if you make an in-depth analysis, you will understand that the robotics era will require even more skilled and smart accounting professionals.
The accounting won’t be only about using business accounting software, it will be more about using them along with the RPA. The accountancy sector will still need humans to supervise the RPA processes. You can’t deny the possibility of errors during RPA processes. If you are smart enough, you can see the window of opportunities right there.
Whether it is human errors or possible RPA errors, business owners can suffer from huge financial losses.
Enterprise owners will have to make blueprints of how they can get the best out of both RPA and humans. Otherwise, survival in the future will become an arduous task. Companies have to understand the difference that RPA can bring to their marketing and how manpower can still be a vital cog in the accounting wheel.
If you are reading this as an accountant, you have to make sure you prepare yourself for the future. And the future is now! You have already entered the era of robotic process automation. Don’t wait for the time when robotics will completely take over the accountancy sector. Get ready and start your preparation right now! Opportunities will be created, it’s up to you, whether you make or break yourself.