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Getting started with Robotics: The latest trend in finance

Robotics in finance can help automate continuously repetitive tasks. Robotic Process Automation or RPA is a fast and easy solution when you want to automate and optimize your workflow in the finance function. So, if you are a CFO and are considering to jump onboard the RPA-trend this blog post is for you!

Read along to get a clear picture of how robotics in finance can help you and your team. Also, we will dispel myths about implementing robots to the finance function.

Focus on the cognitive demanding tasks – make a robot do the repetitive and tedious ones

Companies and employees have never been busier than they are today, and likewise the volumes of data are exploding. In order to keep up to speed, new work methods are crucial. Implementing RPA is one of them. RPA is a program that emulates a user on a computer screen. The robot can be taught to do the same clicks, typing and reading as a person. In that way a robot can make the same processes in a system on a computer as a person. The only difference is the robot does the job much faster and without any risk of errors since the process is fully automated.

The purpose of RPA is to minimize the manual work on the computer done by employees on a day to day basis. A robot can work 24/7 and will automate some of the more tedious, repetitive, manual tasks. This frees up time for you and your team to focus on the more creative and cognitive demanding parts of the financial reporting. For example you will get more time to create data driven proposals to the management, analyze and visualize financial data.

RPA can be used in various industries and across departments in a corporate group. But what makes RPA specially suitable for finance is that the workflows in finance have a lot of RPA friendly features. 

The workflow within finance is characterized by: 

        1. A huge amount of data needs to be processed.
        2. Data is stored digitally.
        3. Repetitive tasks are done manually.

Tasks suited for RPA will be based on a set of rules and contain digital stored data. Furthermore data heavy processes with a high manual error rate involving many systems/people/steps are tailored for robots to do. As an example RPA is very compliant with assignments such as checking and posting supplier invoices, bank deposit file upload to your ERP-system, and credit note handling. You  can also build a robot to upload trial balances from multiple companies within your corporate group to a consolidation or reporting tool.

Implementing RPA is not a big IT project

Implementing robotics in finance can seem like a huge and time consuming IT-project. But actually you can easily start this up because RPA can quickly be installed. Because RPA is using clicks it can seamlessly integrate with existing applications and systems. This gives you an agile tool to automate processes in your day to day work. Robotics helps you make the workflow more efficient by streamlining and standardizing selected processes and assignments. RPA is all about automating processes and tasks which are repetitive and time consuming. 

An example could be implementing RPA in the process of checking all your VAT codes. When having 500 VAT codes it is a manual task which takes most of a day for a person to do. A robot can do this in hours and also notify you if some VAT codes are invalid.

Robotics in finance are automating the manual, repetitive and tedious task, so that you as a CFO, Finance Manager or Controller can focus on assessments, problem solving and analyzing. Robotics in finance can add huge value to your company. First of all, the error rate will go down when using RPA, secondly the workflow becomes faster and more efficient, but most important of all: you and your financial team will have time to make in-depth financial analysis for the management which they can base their decisions on.

Tips and tricks to implement RPA to the Workflow

So, if you want to reduce errors and time spent on repetitive tasks you should implement RPA to your workflow. Implementing RPA in the finance function will make your workflow more efficient and streamlined. But one question remain: how to get started? 

As a first step it is a good idea to map out the processes you want to automate. No one knows your business better than you, so sketch out where you think you should begin implementing RPA. Further you should make a plan for how you want it to develop RPA within the finance department or perhaps your entire group.

When you have a plan then build up a framework for your RPA infrastructure where you standardize as much as possible. Creating your robots in the same way across departments and companies within the group will streamline the RPA-processes. The standardizing and streamlining will give you a good foundation for keeping the maintenance at a low level.

When all of this is in place it is important to be able to keep developing on the automation within the workflow. You can easily do this in-house by educating your employees to identify RPA suited processes – not only within finance, but across departments. In that way you will have experts within each department who will be able to see where the workflow can be optimized by automating certain assignments or processes. You can then create a pipeline for RPA-projects at your business.

If you are a CFO or Financial Controller in a smaller corporate group, you might think that RPA is only for the big, international corporate groups. Think again! A small or medium sized enterprise can just as well benefit from implementing RPA. When considering RPA don’t look at the size of your group, look at the processes you have in your workflows. If they are RPA compliant then RPA can be a good investment for you as well.

RPA can be of huge benefit if you want to bring your finance department into the future. The future finance function will focus on the more creative and cognitive assignments rather than the manual and repetitive ones.

Would you like to know more about implementing RPA to your workflow in the finance function? 

Then watch our webinar Robotic Process Automation in the Finance Function” or contact Konsolidator or RPA Nordic for more information.
You can read the German version of this blog post by 
clicking here.