Driving Rule-Based Process Efficiency with Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is commonly described as a gateway technology; one that provides the backbone to Digitization. RPA is integrated into an existing IT infrastructure as an innovative solution for a fully automatic handling of business processes with high volume and that are repetitive in nature.

Recently, Joe Laethem, Partner with Ernst & Young, discussed the current use of RPA within the accounting and finance function at a joint meeting of FEI’s Committee on Finance & IT (CFIT) and Committee on Governance, Risk and Compliance (CGRC) hosted by American Traditions Insurance Company in St. Petersburg, Florida. He said, “Robots deliver repetitive, deterministic, high-volume tasks efficiently, quickly and consistently.” RPA is essentially computer software that runs rule-based processes and is trained based on functional specifications and can be adjusted at any time. 

Today, organizations often require staff to execute processes and handle data manually across disparate systems and tools, which adds risk and takes time and money. RPA is changing the way businesses think about process management and execution in transformative and simplistic ways, allowing users to streamline processes in a non-intrusive way. With RPA, organizations can streamline and automate the execution of repetitive business processes, which improves quality, security and execution time.

RPA achieves high ROI by avoiding legacy system and process changes. RPA is not a strategic tool for process or systems change—it compliments existing technologies, enhancing their efficiency and effectiveness.

Laethem noted that clear, traceable RPA benefits are delighting customers, empowering the workforce and enabling speed to market. He said, “Companies that incorporate RPA in their transformations will increasingly reap benefits in agility, customer service and innovation –if their employees buy in.”

Robots focus on tasks that are repetitive or require little human judgment, enabling their human counterparts to be redeployed to higher value tasks or other roles. The operations cost saved with RPA can then be invested in more strategic change for even greater levels of business transformation

RPA is not IT driven but process driven.  Rather than another system upgrade, RPA focuses on process improvement and can lead to the upskilling of the company’s human capital. As RPA aims to replace frequently occurring, simple tasks; employees can be redeployed and perform more complex and judgment-intensive processes.

The near constant drive for efficiency and ever-present cost pressures have created for various pain points across industry:
  • High data entry volumes;
  • High Error Rates; Significant rework;
  • Numerous manual processes;
  • Multiple non-integrated legacy systems;
  • and High turnover due to repetitive/low value added activities all have lead companies to consider how automation technologies can create benefits for their accounting and finance departments.

For companies that are ready to begin their robotics journey an opportunity assessment is an essential first step. They should evaluate current processes, prioritize their needs and build their roadmap to successful RPA integration.

Has your company begun its robotics revolution or are bots in your future? Please click here to take a very brief 3 question survey on RPA.