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5 ways robotic process automation can streamline your finance and accounting processes
Posted by Grace Townsley
April 17, 2023
Smart businesses are always looking for ways to streamline their processes, reduce errors, and improve their overall efficiency. And in today’s digital-first age of AI, automations and advanced algorithms, leveraging the power of robotics technology has become an increasingly popular way to achieve these goals.
One kind of robotics technology that’s gaining traction in the finance and accounting world is robotic process automation (RPA). No, RPA doesn’t use physical robots to crunch numbers! But it does use robot-based software to automate repetitive, mundane tasks — freeing up your employees to focus on more strategic work.
When it comes to your finance and accounting-based tasks, RPA can bring significant benefits, including improved accuracy, faster processing times, and enhanced reporting and analytics.
What is robotic process automation?
On a technical level, robotic process automation is a type of business process automation that allows users to create a set of instructions that a software robot, or “bot,” can execute. These bots can automate a range of tasks, from data entry and processing, to complex decision-making.
RPA works by mimicking common human actions in digital systems, using rule-based algorithms to perform tasks consistently and efficiently. For example, if your accounting team manually transfers invoice numbers from your payment system into reporting software, you can set up an RPA to handle this process automatically and almost instantaneously!
Unlike traditional automation solutions, which require custom coding and development, RPA tools are designed to be easy to use and require minimal technical expertise. With RPA, businesses can quickly automate repetitive and mundane tasks, freeing up employees to focus on higher-value work that requires human decision-making and creativity — two things RPA just can’t master!
RPA technology has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly in finance and accounting departments. That’s because its ability to automate data entry, reconciliation, and reporting tasks makes it easy for businesses to streamline their financial processes and increase their bottom line.
If your business has a number of finance and accounting-related tasks, here are five ways robotics can help streamline your systems — and save you money.
1. Improved accuracy and efficiency
RPA can significantly reduce errors in financial data entry and processing. Software has a knack for completing calculations consistently and accurately. It never gets tired, never has a bad day, and never loses focus — which makes it better able to handle tedious data-based tasks than even the most skilled humans.
2. Increased processing speed
RPA bots can work 24/7, without the need for coffee breaks or PTO. That means they can process large volumes of data faster than human employees — without racking up overtime hours.
3. Better reporting and analytics
Because RPA improves the accuracy and timeliness of your financial reports and analyses, it can help you recognize insights more quickly, and make stronger decisions along the way. RPA bots can even be programmed to send detailed reports automatically or when a certain criteria is met, so you know your most critical numbers are always being monitored.
4. Cost savings
When your employees save time every single day, they can do better work faster. RPA allows your business to operate at an even higher level of efficiency and performance, with fewer employees and lower overhead.
5. Enhanced compliance
The high level of accuracy and timeliness that come with RPA means your finance and accounting is better protected from fraud, errors and noncompliance. As long as the RPA was programmed accurately, you can have the peace of mind that your numbers are accurate.
The benefits of leveraging RPA to improve your business’ financial and accounting processes are clear — faster work, better accuracy, stronger reporting and less tedious tasks. But not every task is right for RPA.
Ready to use RPA? These five tasks are a great place to start
While RPA can’t handle creative or strategic tasks without one exact answer, they’re great for streamlining numbers-based processes, like:
Automating your invoice processing. An RPA can automate the process of collecting, processing and recording invoice data, eliminating the need for manual data entry.
Speed up your financial statement closing processes. RPA can help speed up your month-end and year-end processes by automating tasks, like data entry and reconciliation, so your team can focus on analysis and decision-making.
Accelerate your accounts payable processes. By automating the process of receiving, validating and processing invoices, RPA can speed up your accounts payable processes and reduce the risk of errors. RPA can also recognize unpaid invoices faster and process incoming payments almost instantaneously, further streamlining this critical process.
Improve financial reporting. RPA can improve the accuracy and timeliness of your financial reporting by automating the collection and processing of financial data. By automating routine tasks such as data entry, RPA can free up your finance team to focus on analysis and decision-making. Additionally, RPA can recognize patterns and anomalies in your financial data that humans might miss, providing deeper insights into your company’s financial performance.
Enhancing auditing processes. By double-checking your manual financial and accounting processes, RPA can provide a secondary audit that ensures your books and reports are consistently accurate.
RPA can be a game-changer for finance and accounting departments looking to streamline their processes, cut down on human errors, and boost efficiency. And as RPA technology continues to advance, we can expect even more exciting possibilities for its uses — even beyond finance and accounting.
Want more? Escalon provides comprehensive back-office solutions to businesses to help them focus on growth. Escalon’s services support businesses with outsourced finance, taxes, accounting, human resource, risk management and compliance. Talk to an expert today.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. Escalon and its affiliates are not providing tax, legal or accounting advice in this article. If you would like to engage with Escalon, please contact us here.