the potential for rpa in finance and accounting

accounting finance UiPath

Across all industries, automation has no longer become a question of if but when. Where before businesses might have been able to take their time, dipping their toes into the automation pool before diving right in, the pandemic changed the playing field significantly. For finance and accounting departments, there is no better example of the powerful role that UiPath Robotic Process Automation (RPA) plays than when applied to tedious processes like accounts payable and receivable, quoting, contract compliance, and more, all of which require employees spend hours entering large amounts of data, navigating spreadsheets, and reconciling transactions.  

3 reasons to hop on the automation bandwagon in finance and accounting 

Approximately 80% of finance leaders have implemented or are planning to implement RPA in accounting and finance, according to a report by Gartner.

And while the pandemic may be a primary reason to do so, it’s not the only one. That’s because RPA isn’t going anywhere — and neither are its long-term benefits. 

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1. RPA will help your business adapt to a remote world

2020 not only demonstrated how wholly unprepared industries were for the concept of remote work, but it also stressed how important it is for industries to offer digital options, as more consumers are opting for virtual experiences in areas such as banking, financing, shopping, and home buying.  
 
With more virtual options comes an expectation from consumers and employees alike for faster, more efficient systems and processes.  
 
According to a survey by Robert Half, 75% of workers said they want to work remotely at least part of the time. For finance and accounting firms, this means that internal processes – such as reporting, quoting, and account reconciliation, which prior to the pandemic, heavily relied on in-person and manual processes – need to evolve. Insert RPA.

2. Opportunity for more analysis and competitive business

When you take repetitive tasks off an employee’s plate, you give back valuable time to focus on analysis and insights. As staff have become more difficult to find and retain, arming your existing team with the technology to keep up with a demanding workload will result in a happier, more productive workforce overall. As it specifically relates to RPA for accounting firms, in addition to handling a large volume of data and completing data entry, RPA software bots (think of little virtual assistants that sit on your Desktop) can:  

  • download transaction lists 
  • automate invoice processing 
  • aggregate information 
  • consolidate financial data spanning across multiple databases and systems 

59% of finance and accounting leaders believe that RPA will make their business more competitive over the next two years. What better way to focus on the competition than by eliminating the tasks that hinder that focus and growth?

3. reduces room for human error

According to a global survey of C-suite executives and financial professionals, inaccurate financial data can waste up to 114 days. 
 
In an industry that is primarily data and numbers-driven, this is a staggering amount of unused time. Utilizing bots to retrieve, consolidate, format, and normalize financial data into one consolidated reporting format can result in completed error-free work in minutes rather than hours. 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so picture this:

Quarterly federal and state tax estimates are needed to stay compliant with government regulations, and these estimates involve multiple steps which can take hours to complete. RPA bots swoop in and within months following implementation, ROI is attained, hours saved, and employees are reaping the benefits of automation.

In Conclusion 

At the end of the day, there are several RPA use cases in financing and accounting; however, as strong as a case there may be for RPA, reinventing the figurative wheel with new technology is often viewed as risky and costly initiative.  

Learn more about how RPA can help revolutionize and streamline all your finance and accounting needs. We’ll be here with you every step of the way.