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6 RPA Quick Wins for Mid-Market Finance Teams

9 November, 2021
4 mins read
Crystal Crawford, Associate Director, Talent Acquisition
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What you'll learn

  • RPA improves employees’ productivity, letting them focus on high-value tasks
  • RPA saves time and reduces errors in functions such as invoicing and financial statement preparation
  • Evaluate RPA solutions to identify what works best for your business need
What is RPA and how does it help the finance function?
RPA quick wins mid-market companies should seize
Benefits of RPA in finance and accounting
Next Step: Shortlist RPA solutions that fit your finance needs
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When John met with the finance director for his yearly appraisal, he brought up his aspirations. “Matt, I want to be involved in more strategic tasks. I’m tired of repeating the same tasks everyday—entering data, checking records, and creating the same reports. I’m not growing in my career. Can we invest in some tech tools to automate these tasks and free up my time?”

Matt looked up from his desk and said, “ Would you mind identifying some technology that could help with quick wins?”

John was excited. He’d already heard from his friends how robotic process automation (RPA) solutions had helped them achieve quick wins at affordable costs. He sat down to prepare a report on RPA use cases that could help the company’s finance team improve efficiency.

Interested to see what RPA quick wins John suggested? Read on.

What is RPA and how does it help the finance function?

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a software technology that uses software robots to mimic human actions. These bots automate repetitive, manual tasks using rule-based algorithms. They are consistent and quick, and do not have to get up and stretch or take a coffee break.

RPA tools can be used to automate complete processes as well as certain parts of complicated processes, making them more affordable and easy to implement.

The quickest wins have been more rules-based processes that are more amenable to RPA” – Dennis Gannon, VP, Gartner. (Source)

Financial operations generally involve a high volume of repetitive manual tasks. These tasks also need to be completed without any errors. Automating mundane finance tasks such as account book entries, invoice data capture, cash reconciliation, and reporting helps save man-hours and improve productivity.

RPA increases productivity by 27%

RPA boosts the efficiency and productivity of the finance team by automatically gathering transaction data and analyzing it according to a predetermined set of rules. Any potential issues or discrepancies detected by the bot are flagged for manual review.

RPA quick wins mid-market companies should seize

Mid-sized companies want to grow quickly and seek both short and long-term gains. They want quick wins to keep stakeholders happy. RPA technology offers you the opportunity to show quick wins in terms of improved efficiency, reduced errors, lesser cost, and time savings.

Let’s look at some RPA use cases that help achieve target ROIs quickly.

Invoicing management

Preparing and sending invoices and matching the payments is time-consuming and tedious. It is also a very repetitive task that requires executives to follow the same pattern every time to complete the job.

Using RPA automates this process and frees up employees’ time. RPA tools use rule-based algorithms to automate invoice generation and delivery via emails, accounts payable portals, or accounting software such as Quickbooks and Xero. The bot also extracts the required invoices from an email or folder, reads necessary information, and updates it in the ERP system.

Without RPA With RPA
Manually processing invoices is time-consuming (~12 minutes per invoice) RPA bots can process invoices quickly. (2 minutes per invoice)
The chances of errors in manual invoicing are high Accuracy is approximately 99.5% and chances of error are very low

Collections management

The collections process starts with dunning and ends with receiving the payment. It is often a complex process that requires you to send multiple emails to customers, check remittance details, and update the balance payment or credit amounts.

You can use RPA bots to automatically send emails to the customers based on predetermined rules to remind them of upcoming payments or missing remittance data. It also aggregates remittance data from different sources including customer portals, emails, etc.

Without RPA With RPA
Time-consuming and labor-intensive Maintain good financial standing with negligible cash gaps
Manually preparing and sending emails to clients is tedious Use predefined email templates to save time and effort

Reconciliation and auditing

Accounting teams and finance departments spend a lot of time reconciling purchase orders and payments with invoices and bank statements.

With RPA bots, you save time and eliminate the risk of human error by automatically importing and categorizing transactions. They also validate the data and copy it to other records as needed. You can also use RPA bots for audits, to match employee details, assess risks, and validate financial records.

Without RPA With RPA
Time-zone issues Works 24/7
High chances of errors like duplicate entries, date discrepancies, etc. Chances of data errors occurring are nil

Financial reporting & compliance management

You have to be up-to-date with all regulatory compliance requirements to avoid unnecessary fines and penalties. You’ll need to send periodic reports to the respective regulatory bodies, run audits on your data and systems, and track discrepancies in your processes.

You can program RPA robots to meet all of these requirements, with a low (often zero!) error rate, greater coverage, and minimum human intervention. RPA tools aggregate data from multiple sources to improve financial and regulatory reporting efficiency. This makes financial reporting a lot easier as it eliminates the need for manual collection and aggregation of data.

RPA improves compliance reporting by 38%

Without RPA With RPA
It takes a lot of time and effort to sort through the compliance requests and arrange them based on priority Automatically sorts the compliance requests and stores them in a prioritized worklist format
Chances of missing out on critical regulatory requirements are higher Chances of errors in the data or misreporting are low

Credit risk management

One of the leading causes of high bad debts is indiscriminate credit limits awarded to clients without proper checks. Accounts receivable executives may be hard-pressed for time or may not have the required data to study clients’ credit risk profiles.

You can use an RPA bot to log into your credit checking program as soon as a new prospect is added to your customer management system. It can then find relevant data such as the customer’s credit risk score, agency ratings from sources such as Dun & Bradstreet(D&B), Yahoo, etc., and store this information in a single repository. RPA bots complete the whole process in just a few minutes, which would otherwise take a lot of time if done manually.

Without RPA With RPA
Time-consuming and difficult to identify data from third-party sources Completed in a few minutes with data captured from multiple sources
Manual credit scoring models are tedious and cumbersome to use Feed data into pre-built credit risk models to get customer scores

Customer onboarding

Customer onboarding is a lengthy and expensive process and sometimes may take months. This leaves both your executives and clients exhausted and exasperated. The longer it takes to onboard a customer, the higher the chances of the customer defecting.

Leverage RPA solutions to make customer onboarding faster by automating processes such as collection and validation of client data, use of predefined email templates for credit acceptance or denial, etc.

Without RPA With RPA
Takes a long time, increasing churn rates Completed in very little time, improving customer experience
Customer onboarding is subject to the geography and availability of the client executive Customers can be onboarded anytime and from anywhere

Benefits of RPA in finance and accounting

RPA is easy-to-implement, affordably priced, and offers quick wins that help you show a higher return on your investment. It also helps improve efficiency, reduce errors, and drive employees to focus on more higher-value strategic tasks.

Here’s a quick representation of what an organization stands to gain by implementing RPA technology-based solutions.

 4 Key benefits of RPA

Next Step: Shortlist RPA solutions that fit your finance needs

RPA can be used by any type of organization. If your business has repetitive manual tasks which drain away your employees’ valuable time, RPA is the right solution for you.

Use RPA to automate labor-intensive tasks and free up your finance and accounting team to focus on higher-value functions such as strategy planning and M&A.

RPA solutions can also be the first step in your journey towards adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI). While RPA tools mimic human actions and help automate processes, AI helps mimic human thinking and even solve unstructured problems.

Reach out to us if you are ready to implement RPA and AI-based solutions for your finance process. Our Integrated Receivables platform offers dedicated modules to automate invoicing, collections, reconciliation, credit risk management, and deductions. Our customers vouch for the efficiency gains they’ve received by automating their order-to-cash processes. Schedule a time to talk with us to explore opportunities to automate your AR processes using RPA and AI-driven solutions.

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