A case of how to work smarter with RPA: What to avoid and how to do it.
How to easily automate some of the more repetitive and tedious tasks in the daily workflow at your finance department?
It is a question most CFOs and Finance Managers should consider today since the role of the entire finance function and finance professionals is changing with the increased digitization of companies worldwide. Slowly we are moving away from CFOs and Finance Managers just being number crunchers, working behind the scenes. Instead, finance professionals will collect data not behind the desk but out in the organization. Robotics Process Automation (RPA) is interesting from this point of view.
But what should you be aware of when implementing RPA, what specific challenges can it help you overcome, and how to use RPA as intelligently as possible in the finance function?
Nordic Transport Group (NTG) gives its take on this. In this blog post, you will learn how NTG uses RPA daily to improve its financial reporting. Read on to hear more about NTG’s learnings and experiences implementing RPA into the finance function.
Let RPA help you focus on the value-adding tasks.
Companies and employees have never been busier than they are today, and likewise, the volumes of data are exploding. To meet the increasing demand for financial advice, which can help management make the best decisions possible, finance professionals have to go out and talk to people in the organization to gather data and produce much-needed in-depth financial insights.
Influencing decision-making is going to be the primary job of finance professionals soon. RPA can be an intelligent solution to allocate time to financial insights, in-depth financial analysis, and advising management.
Implementing RPA has proven to create a more efficient workflow, minimize errors and save time which can be used for more cognitive and creating demanding tasks. Nordic Transport Group (NTG) has implemented RPA in its finance department and has gained some valuable experience in precisely this area. Here is their view on RPA and the finance professional’s role:
“We have time to enter professionally interesting dialogues and take on the tasks that we find fun and professionally challenging. Our employees can use their professional skills and education and not get bored by performing administrative tasks – these are simply automated with RPA.”
Morten Wied, Head of Group Finance at NTG.
The purpose of RPA is to minimize the manual work employees do daily, which is what NTG has used RPA for – automated and replaced those with robotics.
The do’s and don’ts of RPA
NTG began from scratch when implementing RPA in the finance department. Due to this, they know what to do and what not to do. They also know how to get started. The team began by picking the low-hanging fruits, and from then on, it went fast with implementing RPA in the rest of the reporting processes due to the agility of RPA.
A huge part of implementing RPA in your finance function is about having the right people and creating a culture with the right mindset for RPA. That is not made overnight but takes time and is a part of a process that, in the long run, will benefit not only your finance function but your entire business in terms of reducing errors and time spent on manual, repetitive, tedious tasks.
The financial team at NTG met challenges when they tried to push RPA solutions down over tasks not suited for RPA.
How to avoid this? You might think – fear not.
It is a mistake that is easy to avoid. NTG has an employee dedicated to RPA optimization. Giving one employee the task of creating a pipeline, managing, and facilitating these RPA projects, has proven beneficial to NTG. They have seen some great results due to this factor.
To help you, here are some points to what RPA is especially suited for:
- Tasks that are based on a set of rules and contain digitally stored data
- Data-heavy processes with a high manual error rate involving many systems/people/steps are tailored for robots.
As an example, RPA is very compliant with assignments such as:
- Checking and posting supplier invoices, uploading bank deposit files to your ERP system, and handling credit notes.
- Uploading trial balances from multiple companies within your corporate group to a consolidation or reporting tool.
How to use RPA to work smarter in the finance function
Implementing RPA in the finance department at NTG means that the financial team has saved time on critical calculations and accounts. Before, it took the team three weeks to make these unique figures. Now, due to RPA, it takes 1,5 working days. RPA has created value in NTG’s finance department, saving time on manual administrative tasks and applying this time to other value-adding tasks.
Where RPA really helps NTG is the connection between software and systems. For instance, if the finance team needs to reconcile a trial balance in a certain way, NTG gets the robot to do the work instead of manually typing everything in. To give an idea of what kind of specific tasks you can let a robot do instead of an employee, here is an example: NTG has a robot preparing and updating controller reports in their reporting system Konsolidator Konnect every month. At NTG, robotics saves them valuable time during their busy periods.
“It is just like going from using a manual screwdriver to using an electric screwdriver, making the tasks easier, faster, and more painless to handle. It simplifies the task for our finance business partners so they can create value by providing insights based on the report instead of pulling it from the system manually.”
RPA has removed the peak load from the monthly closure at the finance department at NTG. In taking the pressure, NTG can keep their team at a number that makes sense when the department is less busy.
Join our webinar “Robotic Process Automation In the Finance Function.”
There is no doubt that NTG has stepped up its game in the finance department and developed a more efficient, streamlined, standardized workflow thanks to RPA. The agility that RPA brings to the table has enabled NTG to work smarter and improve several processes. It allows the team to focus on value-adding tasks such as delivering crucial financial insights to management.
Do you want to learn more about RPA and how it can help you work smarter to prepare for the future role of finance professionals?