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Case Study

Retailer Automates 'Impossible’ Journal Entries with Digital Workforce

18,000 entries processed by digital workers
7,000 hours saved across nine financial teams
Faster journal entry processing

Thousands of employees at a high-end retailer work together to delight customers, collaborate with suppliers and support their peers. Like many retailers, budget challenges at this company have inspired creative ways to reduce costs. One effective solution is the company’s SS&C Blue Prism digital workforce, brought on five years ago to handle unsatisfying or inefficient tasks for employees — even a seemingly impossible-to-automate finance process.


Financial journals are used to allocate funds to different areas of the retailer’s business. Generating them is a laborious process, and 18,000 are created each year. Employees must gather financial data from multiple sources, enter it into a spreadsheet, validate it using pivot tables and VLOOKUP, create a template and submit the template to internal financial systems.

Journal entry volume drastically increases at the end of the month and year. Employees often had to log in late at night or early in the morning to meet deadlines. On the surface, journal entries seemed to be a perfect task for the company’s team of SS&C Blue Prism digital workers. However, since every journal is unique, both in frequency and how data is interpreted, the process was not standardized enough for automation to be effective.


The company has employed a digital workforce for more than five years. Digital workers are active across most of the business, including finance, contact centers, HR, online and supply chain. The automation team operates with a continuous improvement mindset. Before they agree to automate, they ask, “How do we standardize, simplify and ensure we have a lean process?” Business stakeholders are pressed to provide standardized data that aids in the ultimate success of the automation.

This methodology enabled them to “automate the impossible” — financial journal entries. They began by splitting the process into modules and identifying how best to automate each portion. This exercise resulted in two digital workers working together to tackle separate elements of the journal process.

First, employees on the finance team create journal-specific templates which are used in combination with a complicated business rules document to inform the digital workers. The first digital worker kicks things off, collects journal entry data and deposits it in a central location. The second digital worker then reviews the master scheduling document, identifies scheduled journals and gathers relevant data and the unique journal template. This digital worker standardizes the data using macros and pivot tables, completes the template and submits the journal entry to the company’s financial system for approval.

With digital workers on the job, employees are freed to pursue more rewarding work and identify additional ways to support business success. And since employees are no longer logging in at all hours of the day and night during the month and year-end, job satisfaction has increased.

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