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5 things for business owners to know about robotic process automation

Posted by Shivali Anand

November 22, 2021    |     4-minute read (699 words)

You might not consider robots to be members of your finance and accounting teams, but in today's evolving digital environment, this is an increasingly realistic prospect. Robotic process automation allows businesses to attain detailed financial projections and customized services by automating certain functions.

RPA is more than just a fleeting trend. The global RPA software market exceeded $1.2 trillion at the end of 2019 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 45% to 50% through 2023, according to research from the Everest Group.

To find out more about what RPA can do for your business, as well as what adopting it entails, see our guide below.

  1. RPA takes over repetitive tasks from humans
RPA is a software category that enables businesses to automate tasks that traditionally entail considerable human involvement, but not a lot of thought. So, adopting RPA lets staff allocate their time instead to more thought-intensive tasks. For example, RPA software can automatically reconcile account balances, significantly reducing time to perform this task. And because RPA’s capabilities are still advancing, it's expected to eventually transform every company's financial and accounting functions. 

RPA can also help your company save money. Firms using RPA are predicted to cut operational costs by 30% by 2024, according to Gartner. And a McKinsey study estimates that organizations that adopt RPA saw a return on investment ranging from 30% to 200% in the first year.

  1. RPA is appreciated by many employees 
Some businesses avoid using RPA over concerns that employees will be upset that they are losing some of their tasks. But RPA actually takes over many of the responsibilities employees dislike most. Adopting RPA to reduce monotonous tasks can precipitate a happier and more productive workforce. 

Some businesses have adopted RPA on a limited scale for their banking operations but have not yet fully capitalized on all of the software's capabilities. If the financial services industry broadened RPA adaptation, it would reduce the number of hours people have to perform repetitive tasks. For example, RPA can automatically generate financial reports and compliance documents and file the paperwork required when customers open new accounts.

Although RPA does reduce the need for people to perform many banking tasks, it also necessitates that humans set up the systems and "train" the software on the institution’s proprietary financial process. While the upfront setup time can be extensive, it will save hundreds of hours of labor later for everyone involved in the banking process.

  1. Everyone should be involved in RPA implementation
The decision to use RPA, and how it will be managed beyond implementation, should be considered across your organization. Adopting RPA will necessitate the participation of engineers, the finance team, the impacted employees and HR personnel, among others. You want to make sure that the deployment does not stress your employees, because even though RPA will free up their time in the future, it requires a lot of time and energy to implement.

Keep in mind that an RPA system is not an example of something you can “set and forget.” Because these programs deal with sensitive financial data, plan to continually double-check the system's inputs and output. This may entail frequent audits of the RPA's work and running system analytical reports.

  1. RPA should be deployed strategically
It's tempting to think about implementing RPA everywhere it could save you money. But you’ll get the most from RPA by figuring out where it can optimize processes to boost ROI the fastest. Focus on those areas first and expand it to remaining functions later. Engaging the team during the strategic decision-making process will help maximize the ROI of using RPA while simultaneously freeing up the most employees to focus on other duties.

  1. RPA can be accessed by outsourcing
If you’re not prepared to invest in RPA technology, you can still reap its benefits by outsourcing financial services. Through the outsourced provider, you’ll have access to RPA software that will help convert financial processes from manual to automated procedures. An additional benefit of outsourcing is it ensures professional management of the RPA system at all times, rather than requiring you to designate certain staff members to oversee it. 

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