March 30, 2021
Behind every strong company is a strong finance and accounting team: the experts who help ensure smooth daily operations, flawlessly accurate data, and a financially healthy business. These roles demand highly specialized skill sets – but with so many different tasks to handle under tight deadlines, it can be a challenge for finance professionals to use their talents to the fullest. That’s because even with the help of advanced accounting software, finance processes still involve a great deal of repetitive, manual work. Duties like payment reconciliation and review preparation, for example, usually require employees to comb through and record large volumes of data by hand. The more hours spent on these types of tasks – formulaic actions that do not involve human decision-making – the greater the risk of delays, missed opportunities, and an unrewarding employee experience.
Business leaders have long known that their finance and accounting teams’ time and brain-power could be better spent – and with Robotic Process Automation (RPA), they can solve this pain point for good.
RPA technology uses software robots (or a “digital workforce”) to perform a wide range of manual actions quickly and accurately, making it an ideal way to support busy finance teams. Especially combined with technologies like Optical Character Recognition (OCR), RPA can significantly reduce financial professionals’ manual workload while saving time and costs. Companies leveraging RPA in their finance and accounting departments are already seeing the impact. Our client, for example, a global automotive leader, saved 500+ hours annually by automating balance sheet reconciliation – and as a result, can offer its employees a more productive and enjoyable work experience. More and more businesses are discovering RPA’s applications in this field, showing that finance professionals and digital workforces can make an unstoppable team.
RPA can handle many aspects of payment validation and reconciliation – one of the most time-consuming items on your team’s to-do list. Balance sheet reconciliation is a prime use case, as it involves actions like searching multiple documents, running complex calculations, and cross-checking for accuracy. These tasks are uninteresting for many people, and must be completed with extreme speed and accuracy; in other words, they’re perfect for a digital workforce. Software robots can be triggered to log into your accounting system at specified times, then navigate to, download, transform, and send the correct data. While lightening your team’s workload, RPA will also lower their stress levels – because, with no risk of human error, it provides the peace of mind that all payment information is completely accurate.
From day-to-day operations to executive reviews and everywhere in between, finance professionals have to extract data from a wide range of sources including vendor invoices, banking statements, spreadsheets, and written communications. This information tends to be distributed across many different locations and formats, and collecting it can take up valuable hours of the day. With RPA, much of this work can be streamlined through auto-extraction. Adding technologies like OCR, Machine Learning (ML), and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to RPA enables the robots to “understand” information contained in virtually any type of document – even unstructured ones. With the data they need conveniently on hand – auto-extracted by speed-reading robots – employees can better utilize their areas of expertise.
Rolling out new technology can be stressful for a team, often involving extensive training, reorganization of data, and other changes to business as usual. With RPA, however, the transition is seamless. Unlike other types of automation, RPA is a non-invasive solution that can fully integrate with your existing systems, like SAP, without altering their infrastructure. A digital workforce doesn’t take the place of your accounting software, but rather complements and adds new capabilities to it. No need to worry about your team’s ramp-up or ongoing management of the tool – RPA is a solution that’s designed to virtually “plug and play” without interrupting the flow of your business.
Each member of your finance and accounting team has unique skills to contribute to the company – and RPA will let them shine. With RPA, employee hours previously spent on tasks like extracting data can be reallocated in ways that build value on both a business and personal level. A digital workforce helps ensure that employees are empowered to solve interesting problems, develop new ideas, collaborate in meaningful ways, and more – all with plenty of time for coffee breaks.
The result? Happier, healthier humans as well as a faster-growing business. Putting RPA to work for your company Between reduced costs, minimized risk, and re-energized employees, it’s clear that RPA helps set finance and accounting departments up for success. RPA’s vast automation capabilities, combined with its ease of integration and use, adds up to a game-changing solution – and with the right RPA partner, getting started is easier than you might think. Want to know more?
We’d love to discuss what a digital workforce can bring to your finance and accounting processes – so get in touch with Ciphix and get ready to automate your way to an even brighter future.