Accounting and FinanceThe future of Accounting & Finance processes is error-free and 100% compliant, with RPA
Accounting and Finance
Most Accounting and Finance functions are rules-based, making them prime candidates for RPA. Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Travel and Expense Management, Journal Entries and Month End book closings are just a few business units that can be improved by applying process automation.
Automation challenges can still arise when an organization handles unstructured data inputs such as invoices and statements. In such cases, RPA can be integrated with other cognitive technologies like AI and OCR. These integrated or “smart” solutions are capable of converting unstructured documents into structured data, and become progressively more accurate as the model “learns” the various formats and types of incoming documents.
AR Activities are generally less dependent on outside documents and hence better suited as a starting point for implementation of a digital accounting workforce. Some areas that can benefit are:
– Sales Quote Generation
– Order Data Validation
– Customer Credit Monitoring
– Invoice Distribution
– Payment Matching and Processing
– AR Aging Follow-up
Accounts Payable is one of the most manually intensive task within accounting divisions due to the sheer volume of unstructured data that needs to be processed. Legacy OCR solutions, either do not provide 100% accuracy or break when incoming document formats change. Newer breed of OCR solutions that apply AI and Machine Learning tend to provide much better accuracy and efficiency. Similarly, NLP can be applied to respond to vendor inquiries and further reduce the workload of accounting staff.
– Process Vendor Invoices
– Manage Vendor Payments
– Respond to Vendor Inquiries/Disputes
RPA can be beneficial in not only processing incoming T&E reports into the accounting systems, but also applying corporate policies to these expenses. Smart data analysis can be used to detect anomalies in T&E reports based on historical data. RPA Automation can also be deployed to perform an audit and play the role of the checker for these expenses.
Whether they are permanent or reversing entries, this activity is rules based. An entry can be created, posted, and filed. In fact, where external Auditors note automation in this area, they have less to review, resulting in lower audit fees.
Balance Sheet Reconciliations
Many of the transactions within an account cancel each other out. This is a manual task in the reconciliation process which can be handled by the robot, leaving the balance of the transactions that need to be reviewed for propriety. This allows reconcilations to be done more often than perhaps they are currently done; thus further lowering risk.
Fixed Assets Accounting
Setting up a physical asset in a data intensive task. The robot can read receipts, bouce the information against accounting rules, and determine whether it should be depreciatted. Further, it can set the asset up, and even accrue the depreciation if the time has passed for set-up in the current month. Further, if it is an asset on a network (hardware or software), it can be “pinged” and the robot will record that it has been inventoried.
For global companies that have to manage payable and receivable bank balances in multiple countries, this can be tedious, but not for a robot. While you are sleeping, the robot is continuously reviewing accounts in order to determine where funds are available and can be moved, or where short and need replenishment.
Income, property, and sales, and use taxes
These calculations are tedious and fraught with errors. As such, they may only be done quarterly and then when payment is due, they need to be shored up. It is not a problem for the robot to do these calculations monthly so that cost fluctuations are minor. External Auditors review much less when they note that a robot is involved.