Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – Why does it matter to Finance?

Malcolm Brock
Managing Director

Robotic process Automation (RPA) is often confused with robotics, artificial intelligence and many other technological advances. In plain English, the translation for RPA is ‘software used to minimize or eliminate manual efforts involved in different areas of your organisation’.

Consider just how many of the processes in your finance organisation consume manual effort – transferring data from one spreadsheet to another, checking variances in a report, comparing numbers in one report with another…. the list just goes on.  That is why RPA matter to finance.  It can eliminate this low value work and remove the errors and risk associated with humans doing these repetitive and often mind numbing tasks.

That is why in today’s world, companies are constantly looking to automate their processes in order to save time, reduce errors and maintain compliance. Finance is one place where RPA can have dramatic results and not just is getting these tasks done faster and better.  It frees up staff and their time to do more value added tasks which humans are really good at like analysis, collaboration and decision making.

Some of the examples of tasks in Finance which can be automated using RPA include:

  • Bank reconciliation with automated matching rules: with Intelligent transaction matching, once the transactions are matched, those transactions will then appear as cleared transactions in the bank or credit card reconciliation – therefore increasing the overall speed of the bank reconciliation process
  • Bad Debt Customers: Automatically mark customers for bad debt and prevent them from ordering again in the future. The benefit again is the speed you can react and the ability to prevent costly mistakes
  • Low Inventory Items: Automatically create purchase orders for items low on inventory and automatically send them to each supplier. The benefit is two-fold. First, if you automate this on items that have high velocity and demand, you will never find yourself “temporarily” out of stock. Second, it reduces ‘busy’ work
  • Automating Order Fulfilment: Automation can let you run processes in the order fulfilment workflow automatically in the background thus giving staff time to focus on the more demanding and difficult activities
  • Billing Bid-to-Cash Automation: Enables the creation and management of subscriptions and supports recurring billing whch can be fully integrated with revenue management

From these examples you can see that by utilizing RPA there is an immediate cost saving benefit. Completing tasks faster, more accurately and with greater visibility for the entire organisation.  It helps them to perform these operations at a fraction of the original cost which results in an improved ROI.

Our experience with Oracle NetSuite shows you can use RPA to automate the mundane operations most businesses are overwhelmed by – such as billing, coding invoices, sending reminders, etc. – by building automated workflows of those processes. The RPA capabilities in NetSuite go even further using software “robots” that can read and write to your current systems. These robots can manipulate data, generate a response and communicate with other systems.

While AI seeks to simulate human intelligence, RPA simply mimics human actions. If AI is more about learning and thinking functions, RPA is about “doing” the day to day things that really matter making your finance organisation more efficient so that you can focus on being more effective.

If you are interested in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your finance organisation please contact us by clicking HERE.  We would be very happy to show you how. You can find out about Oracle NetSuite on our website HERE