RPA 101: How can Robotic Process Automation Improve the Finance Function?
Over the past few years, Robotic Process Automation has surpassed its reputation as just another buzzword to become a reality for the finance functions of businesses in a myriad of industries. Here, we break down the purpose, benefits and applications of this increasingly popular technology.
What is Robotic Process Automation?
Put simply, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the use of software to handle high-volume repetitive tasks. It offers the ability to drastically transform a business from the front to back-end by relieving human workers from the monotony of tedious activities, reducing errors rates and dramatically decreasing the length of time needed to perform a variety of processes. Additionally, while operating, an RPA solution can capture valuable data that can be used by the business to improve the processes it performs.
Where can RPA be applied in the finance function?
- Operational Accounting
- General Accounting
- Financial and External Reporting
- Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting
- Treasury Processes
How can RPA improve the finance function?
Time: An RPA solution can process multiple actions in an incredibly short amount of time while operating on a 24/7 basis. Its ability to eliminate the risk of human error plays a significant role here. Deloitte reports that by utilising RPA, businesses can see a 27% increase in tasks performed 'right first time'.
Cost: The ability for an RPA solution to perform a high volume of tasks at a faster speed with greater accuracy mean that its implementation provides a considerably greater return of investment than a human worker. NASSCOM state that RPA implementation can provide companies with a cost reduction of 35-65% for onshore process operations.
Data: RPA solutions have the analytical abilities to examine, collate and compare data across different systems. In doing so, RPA can help businesses to identify weaknesses as well as opportunities for growth within existing processes.