How to Use Robotic Process Automation in Finance and Accounting
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How to Use Robotic Process Automation in Finance and Accounting

Robotic Process Automation in Finance and Accounting

Whether you run an investment firm, an independent accounting office, or are just looking for ways to improve your internal finance and accounting processes, you might be considering robotic processes as a way to improve your finance operation.

Robotic process automation has the potential to help in many ways and can allow businesses to not only offer a better customer experience but to potentially support more success overall. Here’s what to know about robotic process automation in finance.

What is RPA and why would you need it?

Gartner, a noted technology research firm, explains the overview of the robotic process in automation by saying, “Fragmented finance systems and processes mean that many organizations are highly inefficient and ineffective from still relying too heavily on manual processes and spreadsheets. This adds cost, data keying errors, complexity and audit concerns to finance processes. Robotic process automation (RPA) technologies can automate manual finance processes, especially in a fragmented finance system landscape. However, many organizations are confused about what their actual processes are, let alone how to deploy RPA to deliver business value in finance. RPA is just one way to automate processes, and it has no finance best practices embedded in the toolsets. A key challenge, therefore, for organizations is knowing when to use RPA and when not to.”

RPA, then, is just one tool that can be used to assist businesses with finance and accounting challenges. Here’s how some businesses are implementing it most effectively.

What are some of the uses of robotic process automation in finance?

#Reconciliation

One significant way that RPA can be used is to assist auditors and ensure a business’s financial records accuracy. A business could use robotic process automation to audit revenue by logging into a server and retrieving relevant financial information, such as current and prior year sales as well as the trial balance. RPA can calculate the total sales per the listing and compare it to the total per the trial balance; if these numbers reconcile, businesses or finance organizations can be assured of the quality and accuracy of their financial records.

#Comparing prices

One way that businesses have used robotic process automation in finance matters is price comparisons. It helps businesses who work with a number of suppliers to better source a specific product; by using RPA to track changes of fluctuating prices, businesses can automatically get low-price alerts for the best pricing available.

#Supplier market intelligence

Speaking of suppliers, RPA can help vet credentials of suppliers. While this task has previously been a research-heavy, manual lift for businesses, RPA makes creating reports to ensure supplier quality much easier.

#Contracts

Some businesses have invoices that need vendor contract data to be validated for compliance. Many organizations that serve as business vendors have this automated, but for those that don’t, robotic process automation can help fill this data gap.

#Quotes

If your business spends any time quoting customers, one area you’re likely losing time and efficiency is comparing supplier prices. Your business can gain a competitive and financial advantage by using robotic process automation to help with this data gathering task.

#Financial closes

KOFAX, an RPA software company, says this about using automation to help close the record to report gap for businesses: “The financial close and reporting process encompasses all of the tasks and processes—from closing out sub-ledgers to creating and delivering financial filings to regulatory bodies—which involves many systems, departments, and individuals. The process requires posting data from sources such as Excel to these sub-ledgers, a tedious undertaking that RPA can mitigate.” Like many other automated processes, RPA in finance and accounting can help to assure better accuracy and more streamlined processes.

#Industry-specific tasks

Financial services enterprises like insurance agencies and mortgage companies have processes that involve endless searching, matching, comparing and filing. These processes necessitate that forms, applications, declarations, deeds, and endorsements must be reviewed for completeness, verified for accuracy, fined for data, and filed for easy retrieval. This can be a huge time suck on businesses and also cause risky mistakes by human error. RPA can help reduce mistakes that can be costly or dangerous to a business.

Businesses are always looking for ways to improve their bottom line or reduce money lost by faulty processes and errors and automation has helped many organizations in areas from HR to marketing to accounting. Robotic process automation in finance is one way to help your business double-check important and sensitive financial information to help catch errors, reduce audits, and save money with suppliers.

Robotic process automation in finance and accounting can help you get a better handle on your financial data and in many cases save time and money for your business, no matter what industry you’re in. RPA can lead to better insight and potentially innovation that can help your business thrive

Marianne Chrisos
Marianne Chrisos
Born in Salem, Massachusetts, growing up outside of Chicago, Illinois, and currently living near Dallas, Texas, Marianne is a content writer at a company near Dallas and contributing writer around the internet. She earned her master's degree in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University in Chicago and has worked in publishing, advertising, digital marketing, and content strategy.
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