RPA – Driving Next-generation Accounting

How can RPA transform the office of the CFO?

RPA and Accounting

 

In general, the uses of Robotic Process Automation in Accounting, Banking and Financial Services is to

  • Automate manual tasks
  • Manage workflow in standardized finance and accounting processes across complex organizations and IT landscapes
  • Automate accounts and financing processes
  • Increase accounting productivity and enterprise efficiency to reach same-day up-to-date account standards

Throughout the BFSI sector, there’s a dramatic change in the office of the CFO to really focus on being strategic and bringing strategic advice to the actual business. It’s more than just managing the finances and the stewardship of the organization. It is about building that business partnership, and really start focusing on how you can actually drive the efficiencies and utilize technology.

Use technology as a disruptor, and drive it with RPA. With robotic process automation the change that we can bring throughout the process is: the Office of the CFO should focus on process improvement and not on mundane tasks.

Now, the number one challenge that is evident is the bottleneck in financial closing processes. So there’s a lot of manual effort today and this is where you can start to look at how you can actually move away from that manual repetitive work that users are doing. You can start engaging RPA to do the simple things such as; Do you need to actually have a person run a report or can you have a system do it for you? If you need to have say, separate reports for all locations on a weekly basis, why can’t you have a system for that.

The next big roadblock that is seen is the actual retention of people in the Finance world. When it comes to the human capital component, you need to actually start focusing on how to retain good people. You need to get them to really understand the IT processes and enabling the IT and the finance teams to actually work together cooperatively to reduce the risk the organization and engage in more SAS products. This leads to a faster execution and delivery.

RPA can then be used to break the next barrier. Lack of mobility. You can remove a lot of the other major infrastructure challenges in having people working remotely. With millennials, people want to be on anytime, anywhere and not be hamstrung and tied to the actual office.

What this all means is that there is a key to the transformation. Today, as a CFO, there’s a lot of focus on actual accounting tasks and the creation of the financials and then 20% is focus on the company’s product and then 25% on leadership. But we’re seeing that the office of the CFO needs to be headed more into stewardship and leadership.

So 50% of the time should be focused on being a leader, being strategic, bringing that overarching view of a business partner. While 25% should be in the components such as the stewardship and the rest on the finance.

If you want to be focused on being strategic to drive the organization forward, then what does the Finance team want? So how do we bot based automation so your CFO is no longer looking for their teams to be heavily focused in Excel?

Your team should use their greater skill sets in communication and collaboration versus looking to just write an Excel macro, or going back to what we’re doing for the last 10 years.

So the Office of the CFO is changing. Imagining these changes and wishing to move away from manual, repetitive work, will have a major impact on productivity. So if you’ve got 69% of your users actually working in the manual tasks, you can give over that component of time to technology and improve efficiency.

Robotic process automation is about the application of technology platform that allows employees and a company to configure a computer software or a robot to perform tasks as if a human is performing them. For example;  

  • Work in existing applications for processing a transaction
  • Manipulating data
  • Trigger responses
  • Communicating with other digital systems

It’s really about creating that virtual workforce for that typical back office Process Center, but without the human resources. Look at what’s repetitive in nature, stop the human being from being the robot and use technology to drive that forward. There should be a partnership between the human and the bot where the robot actually eliminates humans from repetitive robotic process that you’re doing today.

 

Robotic Process Automation is all about taking the robot out of the human.

– Leslie Wilcox, Professor of Technology – London School of Economics

 

You should get people to do other tasks that need human strengths such as emotional intelligence, reasoning, judgment and interaction with the customer.

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