Why Scanning Invoices Will Never Give You 100% Automation
Learn why accounts payable scanning will never give your business 100% automation.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) may sound complex – and it’s true that some RPA implementations can be extensive and multi-faceted. But taking advantage of business process automation doesn’t have to mean a massive undertaking. In fact, there are many quick wins businesses can achieve early on with RPA that can help build momentum for larger-scale initiatives in the future.
One area that can be particularly impactful for businesses is the use of robotic process automation in financial services. Finance functions are often especially well-suited to RPA. This is because many financial processes involve either a) a high volume of repetitive manual tasks that can be replaced by a robot, or b) situations where robots can work alongside human workers, freeing them up to complete manual activities that can’t be automated.
So, exactly how can businesses implement RPA to produce fast results for their financial functions? Consider the six quick wins below for inspiration.
All financial businesses carry some degree of compliance burden. RPA can help mitigate risk and increase efficiency by automatically gathering transaction data and analysing it according to a predetermined set of rules. If the robot worker detects any potential issues, the individual transactions involved can be flagged for manual review by a human compliance officer.
In fact, according to data from Accenture’s ‘Compliance at a Crossroads’ report, 73% of compliance officers surveyed as part of the company’s research process expect RPA and other tools to play a crucial role in driving better use of compliance resources over a period of three years.
RPA implementations can save financial departments time and eliminate the risk of human error when it comes to reconciling bank accounts with accounting software. By automatically importing and categorising transactions, robotic workers eliminate the effort needed to format CSV bank files for import or manually match transactions.
In some instances, RPA implementations may even be able to leverage machine learning to develop an understanding of how to categorise transactions more quickly.
“Banking reconciliations and allocations are a critical function to any business, often performed manually across many web tools, legacy systems and local data sources such as excel workbooks. This makes them inherently time consuming, complex open to error. We have seen this as a great win for people looking to automate. With a BOT, these processes happen in the background with the same business outcomes in a fraction of the normal time and with no errors at all. BOTs can even be taught to manage exceptions and problems and seen emails upon completion or where they encounter a critical issue or anomaly.
This enables finance staff to focus on the higher value part of the roll and demonstrating how a valuable human asset can be augmented with Robotic Process Automation.”Ken Hickey, Head of Business Processes, Converga
If your business has ever glossed over the step of checking the credit of a new client or supplier due to a lack of available time, RPA may be able to help.
Here’s how the process can look in practice: When a new company record is added to your CMS or another platform, your RPA worker detects the new entry. It then logs into your credit check program, runs the appropriate report, populates the data required in your customer management system, and flags the record for review by a human analyst.
All it takes is a few minutes – and no effort on the part of your human workers – to ensure important data isn’t missed when establishing new business relationships.
A Deloitte report titled ‘Automation in Onboarding and Ongoing Servicing of Commercial Banking Clients’ suggests that onboarding a new commercial banking client can take up to eight steps across a period of 16 weeks and at a cost of up to $30,000.
Transitioning some or all of this process to RPA could represent tremendous savings. As the report notes:
A bank with 125,000 existing customers that brings in around 3,800 new customers a year and expands services for another ~9,000 customers could see on-boarding costs of $200 million every year. With RPA and cognitive technology implementation, this bank could realize up to $100 million in savings, or 50% efficiency.
Your customer onboarding processes may not be quite as involved, but that doesn’t mean RPA can’t still play a role in producing tangible savings through substantial efficiency improvements.
Robotic workers can’t perform all of the in-person functions of a bank teller or other financial services professional. However, they can still contribute to providing high-level customer service in partnership with human workers.
For instance, a few specific applications of RPA in the context of financial service include, among others:
Finally, in an article for the In the Black website, journalist Lachlan Colquhoun shares the example of a finance manager who spent roughly 40% of her week auditing spreadsheets in search of errors before the implementation of an RPA function. According to Colquhoun:
“Where the office manager was only able to audit 10 per cent of the spreadsheet over two days, the robot was able to check 100 per cent and present anomalies for the finance manager to investigate.”Lachlan Colquhon
But although the finance manager was initially concerned that the new robot would make her work redundant, the value of her follow-up work increased from $200,000 pre-RPA to $1 million after the implementation. As Colquhoun explains in the article:
“The advent of RPA will not destroy jobs and lead to mass redundancies in the finance industry. Rather, it will minimise the drudgery of many manual tasks that are done today and improve the quality of work, while also finding efficiencies and value for the business.”Lachlan Colquhon
Though RPA can be used to achieve quick wins across financial functions, the speed with which robotic process automation can be adopted shouldn’t be conflated with having a correspondingly small impact. RPA instances can drive savings of millions of dollars or improve process efficiency by 50% or more despite requiring relatively short implementation times and comparatively small investments.
To determine what types of quick wins your financial firm or finance department may benefit from, reach out to the RPA specialists at Converga. Our team is standing by to help guide you through the different business process automation options available today that could help you save money, minimise effort, and improve productivity and morale amongst your human workers.
Contact us today to receive more information on the potential of RPA.
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