Taking on Labor-Intensive Finance and Accounting Manual Processes with RPA

October 26, 2022

Renita Joan Anand Kannan

Taking on Labor-Intensive Finance and Accounting Manual Processes with RPA

The Finance and Accounting function involves many mundane, repetitive, and time-sensitive transactional processes. One of the challenges for their workforce is to perform these tasks without any errors, as even a minor mistake leads to substantial losses.  

So, finance leaders look for an automation tool that accelerates the process and ensures 100% accuracy.  

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has made it easier for financial teams to automate complicated tasks like accounting, transactional data management, accounts receivables, billings, and collections without making many mistakes.   

In short, robotics software can take care of dull and repetitive tasks, giving the staff more time to improve the organization’s growth. 

According to Gartner, 80% of finance leaders have either implemented or planned to implement robotic process automation in their business processes, another indicator of RPA’s efficacy in the finance function.   

Accounts payable automation using RPA  

Accounts Payable is one of the finance function’s most common and critical day-to-day processes. As this process is repetitive, time-consuming, and involves a lot of human hours, freeing up the staff to focus on business improvement is a real challenge. However, robotics software implementation transforms complex processes into simple, fast, and enhanced ones. So, it has become the core operation, which is all about improving cash flow, stopping fraud, and managing relationships with vendors. 

Taking on Labor-Intensive Finance and Accounting Manual Processes with RPA

Source: MarketsandMarktet Analysis 

Benefits of AP Automation

AP automation has many benefits that can help businesses get past the problems of doing AP processes manually. AP automation enables you to achieve: 

  • Quicker processing and approval times for invoices. 
  • Lower costs for processing payments and invoices. 
  • Enhanced precision without human error. 
  • Real-time tracking and improved command. 
  • Enhanced financial transparency.  
  • Improved relationships with suppliers. 
  • Advanced risk management systems. 
  • Easy adherence to global regulations. 

Let’s dive deep into a discussion on how RPA can automate account payable and receivable processes that usually take a long time. 

Challenges resolved by implementing RPA in AP operation

AP automation can help your business in many ways, like saving time and money and making your business more accurate and transparent. However, AP automation can pose challenges with any new process or system. You can avoid and solve some of these problems by following best practices and carefully planning how to put the plan into action. 

Automates the non-standard invoices 

Most finance leaders’ biggest worry was that RPA would not be able to handle non-standard invoices and unstructured data well. But this is the most repetitive task that most finance teams do, and most leaders would rather spend money on RPA to solve this problem.  

Well, leaders can heave a sigh of relief as RPA has further evolved. As of late, it can deal with non-standard invoices and unstructured data of customers without any hardship. The complex AP process can also be automated quickly, accurately, and with the help of RPA’s optical character recognition and approval/exception features. 

Speeds up processes 

Also, the ability to infuse Artificial Intelligence into RPA has boosted the confidence of most industry leaders (including Finance) to invest in this emerging technology to speed up processes without breaking a sweat. According to Gartner research, the average amount of avoidable rework in accounting departments can consume up to 30% of a full-time employee’s overall time. A company with 40 full-time accountants translates to an annual savings of 25,000 hours at $878,000. Robust systems, like AI-enabled RPA, can cut down on the back-breaking hour-long AP process and help any operation be done faster with less human help. 

Integrates with legacy systems, including ERP 

Integration with ERP and other legacy systems is another thing that could make it hard to get an automated AP system up and running. The best AP automation tools are easy to connect to ERPs and can be set up quickly without changing how things are done. When seamlessly integrated with legacy accounting software or ERP applications, AP automation improves the invoice-to-pay lifecycle. 

Frees employee time and effort on mundane tasks 

Manual accounts payable processes that rely on paper can lead to inaccurate performance and financial reporting and keep team members from working on higher-value tasks that could boost your bottom line. The buy-in of the employees who will use the system is just as crucial in its implementation. Some front-line employees might worry that automation will eliminate their jobs, while others might think it is overly complicated and unnecessary. RPA can improve the process while cutting costs and errors by automating the data capture for invoices. It helps both the company and the employees to lower the possibility of human error, saves costs, and makes processing faster and 100% accurate with no need for rework, allowing employees to concentrate on tasks with higher added value. 

Need guidance with AP automation?

From what we’ve talked about so far, it’s clear that RPA is changing how finance and accounting work and helping the industry do better than before. Over 50% of C-level accounting executives believe that over the next 3 to 10 years, the development of intelligent, automated accounting systems will significantly impact the business world (ACCA Study).  

Manual, time-consuming procedures ought to be a thing of the past. Intelligent businesses already know that when repetitive, time-consuming daily tasks that take up much time are automated, their teams become more effective and productive. Additionally, accounts payable offer plenty of opportunities to improve processes. Companies have operated functional invoicing systems for decades using paper purchase orders, paper approvals, and paper filing systems. It’s time to leave all that paper behind.   

Is your finance organization ready for a transformation? Let’s talk and get started. 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on March 15, 2020 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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