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RPA for Finance and Accounting

How Finance and Accounting Automation Works 

For financial services and accounting (F&A) groups, having accurate and efficient processes with good security and compliance are key factors – and with heightened demands for organizations to evolve their digital footprint, robust and reliable technology is a must-have. Finance automation can be used across a wide range of repetitive tasks to reduce human errors and streamline workflows. Similarly, accounting automation supports your accounting teams by reducing backlogs and bottlenecks and giving them access to critical information when they need it.

Intelligent Automation Helps Your People Excel

Intelligent automation (IA) derives its task-automating capabilities from robotic process automation (RPA) software bots and its process orchestration from business process management (BPM) to produce better results for your finance and accounting processes. Combined with artificial intelligence (AI), these digital technologies far outstrip the work done manually – earning you higher profitability and efficiency.

How Can Automation Make Finance and Accounting Better?

Finance and Accounting Challenges
Strategy and Value
Intelligent Automation for Finance and Accounting
RPA for Finance accounting challenges

Finance and Accounting Challenges

Here’s the thing: finance and accounting are rife with paperwork and data entry – tasks prone to error, missed information or falling forgotten. And when you’re dealing with critical and sensitive data, this can become a huge compliance issue. So, how do we get rid of complex files and countless rows of data? Click the next tab to find out.

82%

less time to deliver
financial analysis

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60%

reduction in supplier
query response times

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$12 million

saved, plus
penalties prevented

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IA & RPA for Finance accounting

Getting Started With Automation in Finance and Accounting

This guide explains the best processes to start with automation and scale what automation can do for your team.

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Get Started with Finance an Accounting Transformation

IA and RPA Benefits in Finance and Accounting

Accuracy

IA can address accuracy in data operations by removing unpredictable human errors. As this matures, intelligent automation can even flag potential errors so you can repair them before they disrupt the system. Ensure greater accuracy in financial calculations and reporting.

Compliance

Regulatory compliance ensures business operations can continue without costly interruptions. Proper internal and external audits mean that a company isn’t falling short or doing too much. With IA, you can adhere to regulatory requirements and internal policies more consistently.

Frontline Productivity

It’s easy for finance to get inundated with requests as more and more data enters your records. Finance teams use intelligent automation to get ahead of those demands continuously. IA accelerates financial transactions by streamlining slow and repetitive tasks.

Data Integrity

IA reduces errors by automatically inputting data into the appropriate accounting systems. It also performs real-time data validation to check for discrepancies or missing information – ensuring a standard procedure for data collection, input and extraction every time.

Strategic Value

With BPM’s work orchestration, you can better see how to allocate your resources effectively to save your organization time and money. IA gathers insights into how your processes and people are performing so you can make decisions and optimize your workflows as you go.

Financial Planning

Machine learning (ML) algorithms can analyze large volumes of financial data to identify patterns, trends and anomalies. This provides valuable insights for decision-making and strategic forecasting and planning.

Use Cases for IA and RPA in Finance and Accounting

Accounts payable and accounts receivable (AP/AR)

Manual invoice processing, verification, approval and payment scheduling can be very time-consuming. But with invoice automation powered by IA, invoices can be automatically captured, verified and approved or flagged by digital workers. Likewise, you can automate customer invoices and late payment communications, allowing staff to focus more on customer relations. 

Common use cases for AP automation: 

  • Invoice processing: Extract data from invoices, validate them against purchase orders (POs) and receipts, and automatically route them for approval without manual intervention. 
  • Payment approval workflows: Route or escalate invoices to the appropriate approvers based on predefined automation rules. 
  • Vendor management: Manage vendor relationships by centralizing vendor information and tracking procure-to-pay and performance. 
  • Early payment discounts: Identify opportunities for early payment discounts and prioritize invoices accordingly. 

Common use cases for AR automation: 

  • Invoice generation: Generate invoices automatically based on sales orders or contract terms to ensure timely, accurate billing. 
  • Payment processing: Offer multiple payment options to customers to improve convenience and accelerate cash flow. 
  • Collections management: Streamline collections by sending automated reminders for overdue invoices. 
  • Credit risk assessment: Analyze customer creditworthiness based on historical payment behavior and credit scores. 

Discover all the possibilities with accounts payable automation and accounts receivable automation

Learn more about procure to pay automation

Extract and convey information

With purchase order processing automation, you can extract order information accurately and quickly, with digital workers scanning for incorrect inputs and flagging them to a colleague. IA allows you to automate: 

  • PO creation: Generate POs based on predefined rules such as inventory levels, reorder points or sales forecasts. 
  • Approval workflow: Route POs for approval automatically and send notifications to approvers to review POs directly within the system. 
  • Supplier portal integration: Integrate with supplier portals or electronic data interchange (EDI) systems to transmit POs directly to suppliers. 
  • Order tracking and status updates: Enable real-time tracking of POs throughout the procurement cycle. 

Learn more about purchase order automation

Always watching, always ready 

Frequent transactions, while beneficial for growth, make accounting processes increasingly challenging. IA can maximize the work done behind the scenes, so people are free to apply those results to higher-value work.  

  • Reconciliation: Collecting and matching records, once the chore of junior accountants, is now performed in real-time by digital workers. This automated reconciliation process identifies and addresses discrepancies almost instantly to improve accuracy and efficiency.  
  • Transaction recording: Since computers joined the finance department, accountants have been prone to errors while entering transaction data manually into financial software. Now, digital workers log transaction data in real-time, preventing those errors from happening.  
  • Cash flow management: Cash flow management, which requires timely and accurate data, greatly benefits from automation. Digital workers provide real-time updates on accounts receivable and payable, helping businesses make informed decisions on both short- and long-term cash flow management.  

Real-time insight into what you have and what you need 

Adopting IA lowers the burden associated with cost and asset management, reallocating time to make the most use of limited resources. 

  • Payroll management: Payroll requires both HR and finance resources to ensure staff are paid correctly and on time. Any mistakes could lead to low morale and added stress among employees and teams. However, with payroll automation, nearly all employees receive accurate and timely payments automatically, freeing up HR and finance teams to focus on unique issues or questions. 
  • Asset tracking and inventory control: Before automation, managing and tracking physical and digital assets could be complicated. Now, asset tracking and inventory updates are made in real-time with IA, reducing loss and improving performance. 
  • Procurement and supplier management: It can take a lot of time to manage purchasing from vendors. With automation, a lot of this time is freed up to analyze ROI and reduce costs with the right suppliers. 

Less clicking, more thinking

Of the IA and RPA use cases in finance and accounting departments, back-office automation is the key to reducing backlogs and errors. Much of employee time is spent collecting and processing data from different sources. But with IA, your teams get accurate, real-time data access to critical financial tasks, which gives them more time to analyze data and report their insights.  

  • Financial statements: Before, accountants recorded their transactions manually, created statements and distributed them to stakeholders. With IA, digital workers monitor and log transactions in real time, automatically generating up-to-date financial statements accessible via a centralized dashboard. They can also automatically distribute these statements to stakeholders to save more time for your accounting team. 
  • Forecasting: Forecasting traditionally required finance teams to research trends and speak with business leaders to make projections. With IA, the process is streamlined and driven by data. Digital workers collect and analyze data, aligning them with the company’s goals and making it easier to predict future spending and revenues.  
  • Budgeting: Before automation, budgeting involved considerable collaboration and negotiation between different departments. Now, digital workers can propose budget allocations based on previous spending patterns and forecasted revenues, reducing the need for manual inputs and negotiations.  
  • Financial analysis: Previously, financial analysis relied on manually gathered information. Now, real-time data is automatically retrieved to perform financial analysis. Accountants can offer immediate insights into financial performance. 

Learn more about financial reporting automation

Avoid costly errors

The last place a business wants to make mistakes is around compliance and risk. Leveraging IA, finance departments can add a layer of confidence to this critical function. 

  • Audits: Audits used to be chock-full of manual data collection (just imagine the papercuts). Modern IA continuously monitors records and highlights any discrepancies. This shift allows accountants to focus more on problem-solving and less on data gathering. 
  • Compliance: Continuous business operations always depended on maintaining regulatory and legal compliance – standards that can flip quickly. What once required ongoing observation by finance staff is handled by instant alerts from digital workers. IA also allows teams to stay updated with changes in regulations, suggesting policy adjustments to compliance officers.
  • Risk management: IA has turned risk management and reporting from a periodic, manual process into a continuous activity. Digital workers prepare reports using the latest data, ensuring management makes informed decisions based on current conditions. 

Hear From Our F&A Customers

The digital workforce program has over-delivered in its efforts to introduce RPA within the enterprise, resulting in reduced operating costs, increased backroom efficiencies and a greater competitive advantage.”

T.J. Theodore, IT Fellow, Digital Workforce Architect

Raytheon Company

RPA has the power to increase operational efficiency, provide fast and personalized customer experiences and re-allocate human resources towards high-impact activities."

Fernando Cisneros Villa, Corporate Director of Digitalization, Automation and Robotics

Prosegur

Invesco’s vision is to help people get more out of life, and automation has been key to delivering on that vision.”

Ashish Jha, Director of Automation Solutions, Innovation and Capabilities

Invesco

There are areas [of finance operations] which might not be immediately obvious [to automate] that can generate significant benefits to business. … Whatever business processes you have in your business, there’s always going to be areas where [SS&C Blue Prism] can add significant value to your business, both from a compliance and governance perspective to cost savings.”

Ijoma Maluza, Former CFO

SS&C Blue Prism PLC

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