Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is on the rise. According to Gartner, 85% of large businesses will have deployed some form of RPA by the end of 2022. By using RPA, organizations can configure bots to perform human process transactions with higher speed and accuracy. This enables employees to focus on high-margin tasks rather than time-consuming activities.
The accounting function is well-versed with the daily routine of gathering and processing data. Accountants are often bogged down with managing large volumes of data and lots of repetitive manual work. They are often the victims of the crippling end-of-month accounting activities that swallow up many working hours and increase average transaction handling times.
Therefore, whether you run an accountancy practice, an investment firm, or want to improve your internal accounting processes, you should consider leveraging robotic processes. A recent Ernst and Young report estimates RPA will reduce business costs by up to 70%.
In the field of accounting, RPA is known to reduce the processing time, eliminate process errors, and cut down the workload of accountants by half. That empowers the staff to focus on more engaging and strategic activities of the practice.
So, which are the five areas in accounting that are being transformed by RPA? Let us find out:
1. Accounts payable
Processing invoices is one of the most tedious activities for accountants. However, RPA offers a solution that features Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for creating a fully automated process. OCR retrieves the data from invoices through emails and validates the information.
By automating accounts payable, accounting practices or businesses can shift their focus to high-value jobs. Robotic processes make time for the staff to improve their client relationships, facilitate their supplier experience, and take on other accounting initiatives.
According to WNS, the cost of a software bot can be as low as one-ninth of an FTE. Further, robots work as much as 20 times faster than human beings. This shows that RPA is not only cost-effective but also helps save time.
2. Controller function
The RPA technology reduces the manual work required to process weekly invoice data validation comparisons to the previous week’s invoices. The robotic software automatically reconciles the current period feed against the last period once the controller opens the file.
The technology is designed in such a manner that it removes any exceptions or rejections that don’t reconcile automatically and need to be immediately reviewed by the human resource.
3. Fraud protection
Small and midsize businesses are more vulnerable to fraud than large organizations. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, misappropriation of assets or theft is the most common type of fraudulent activity.
If the accounting system is automated, it will have the right controls in place to help prevent or identify fraud. For instance, organizations can use an “if-then” algorithm to detect any potential fraud with the bots.
The technology can compare bank accounts with the current financial records to see if any money has been stolen from the organization.
The underwriting concept is common in commercial banking, where the lender takes on the risk that a borrower is unable to pay back a loan. Alternatively, credit limit request underwriting is a crucial process for several organizations.
However, it is an extremely repetitive and expensive process. But RPA technology can reduce both time and cost by extracting, organizing, and presenting data automatically on the dashboard, all set for the underwriters to assess.
Occasionally, RPA can process that data for credit limit requests within an hour of receipt. It saves a lot of time for underwriters to focus on high-value activities that can trigger business growth and improve the satisfaction levels of the customers.
5. Payroll processing
Payroll is one function of accounting where timeliness and accuracy are paramount. After all – this directly affects the staff and their satisfaction levels. Unfortunately, payroll processing is also time-consuming, menial, and dull.
Sometimes, due to poor concentration or work fatigue, manual errors can take place. Therefore, by deploying RPA technology on payroll, businesses and their employees can enjoy an improved quality of the service, free of any risks or faulty cost reductions.
Robotic processes make data extraction, exchange, and validation easy, which otherwise take up a lot of time if done manually. No wonder, key activities such as payslip generation, benefits disbursal, contractual changes, and attendance records can be automated. They can be completed with minimum risks and errors to achieve a better ROI and increase staff satisfaction.
RPA provides significant gains, including increased speed, accuracy, and efficiency in accounting tasks. Further, it improves the productivity levels of accountants. The technology relieves them from tedious activities such as gathering and exchanging data.
With RPA, they can focus more on creating strategic and valuable work which boosts business growth, adds value to their client portfolio, and empowers the workplace. So, don’t fall for the myth that the bots are taking over our jobs. Adopt RPA technology and leverage it to the fullest.