RPA Finance & Accounting: List of best uses
As the world steadily progresses towards automation, old faulty methods of data operations are increasingly replaced with Robotic Process Automation products. These RPAs grow in popularity within financing and accounting, as many of them prove superior to the old methods that simply involve human specialists.
Although they are not flawless, this automated software proves very useful in many areas of finances and accounting. That’s largely the case because both areas deal with mundane, repeating data flows. Hired specialists are susceptible to burnout, and their effectiveness soon wanes, which disrupts the work process in many ways.
What are RPAs?
RPA is the software used to automate various processes related to information. Although technically you can build any sort of algorithm with the focus on your own business, they are best for activities that require mundane action.
Banks, for instance, fit very well into this category because their services consist mostly of forms that need filling out. They give these to their clients, which then submit their personal information, return the form, and wait for it to be approved. A machine can do all of that and better.
However, even though accounting benefits a lot from this new method of data processing, it’s not the only area of expertise where such software can come in handy. There are plenty of services that help all sorts of businesses create robotic assistants that would:
- Collect user information
- Provide forms, offers & more
- Approve and check it for mistakes
- Put the information into the database
- Use the information inside the database for other interactions with the same client.
Basically, you can now automate your least interesting parts of work without any particular downsides.
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Advantages of RPAs
Automated processes are perfect low-level services, including the KYC (customer info collection) and common services (such as the creation of a bank account), and there are many reasons why:
- SpeedBy far, the biggest advantage of automating one of your low-tier processes is the speed. Compared to the hired specialists, the algorithm can fulfill the mundane tasks in a fraction of the time it takes them. This is partially because they make fewer mistakes and partially because of their faster reaction time to everything.Of course, an algorithm will only be able to compete with a human being in this sphere after spending some time growing accustomed to its new environment.
- 24/7 workUnlike the employees, the software can work around the clock. More than that, it increases in efficiency the longer you keep it on because of its machine learnings. What it means is that you can serve your clients at peak efficiency all day. Robots don’t sleep or rest, at least while your servers are up.
- Stable efficiencyWorkers can burn out, get distracted, or slack. Although you can’t blame them for such mundane work, it still takes robots less time to complete the same work, and their efficiency won’t deteriorate in the meantime. As mentioned, they do the opposite – algorithms actually grow in efficiency the more you keep them active.
- Cost-efficiencyMost RPAs are much more cost-efficient compared to the usual workers. Hired workers work slower and also cost more in the long run. The software doesn’t take all that much to develop or purchase, and it’ll also likely stay with you indefinitely, while you can’t say the same about the hired specialists with absolute certainty.
Disadvantages of RPAs
Although useful and effective, RPA finance software isn’t without shortcomings. Moreover, it is actually useless in many scenarios, making it a more-or-less niche product. The most common disadvantages include:
- Efficiency limitationsWhile this software is versatile and can come in handy for many low-complexity tasks, it becomes increasingly unhelpful the less mundane tasks they are given. Data processing and tasks that don’t require deep assessment or flexibility are piece of cake. Something harder makes it fall apart.It does become stronger with each new repetition of simple and repetitive tasks, which is its chief advantage. However, you can’t really teach a robot, for instance, to deal with clients better than usual workers.
- Full automation isn’t recommendedAlthough they are great help altogether, users are discouraged from completely automating their protocols. An optimal decision would be to automate this routine partially and either leave some workers to tend to protocols alongside the software or simply leave the supervision to look over the algorithm.Full automation is risky precisely because it implies working without human control. While it means you can blissfully forget about the boring parts of your work, if your RPA finance software breaks down, you won’t know it for some time. This will, in turn, cripple the business.
Now that you know just how helpful or unhelpful this software can be, let’s discuss exactly what you can do with it, and what it’s good for, including several prominent RPA use cases.
Essentially, any repetitive action regarding the treatment of data will be ideal for these products. There are many specific niches where RPA finance software is used commonly or even overwhelmingly now. You’ve guessed it: most of these have something to do with banking, accounting, or finances.
Be that for the purposes of creating an account at the bank or any online service or filling out any form on the internet, RPAs are infinitely better at dealing with them than human specialists.
They can easily check whether the information you sent is valid or properly submitted. They have large databases at their disposal and all the tools a worker would have. However, since they are generally faster and this work doesn’t require anything but the same couple of repetitive movements, the RPAs are ideal for it.
For comparison, an application that could take worker 30 minutes to deal with would only take 3-4 minutes for a machine. There won’t even be any mistakes because you can’t make mistakes with this line of work.
Personal data updates
Similarly to the previous case, RPA finance software can also collect and update your personal information independently. Usually, you would have to do it yourself if some of your data is incorrect or outdated. However, banks and businesses can receive your approval to collect necessary data from government registries and update it on its own.
Just like going through the interbank databases and other expansive networks to make sure the information you submitted is relevant, these robots can also tap into even wider networks used by government agencies and even the internet at large.
If you allow it to alter the details independently, it’ll even try to merge data you left in the other services with the details you submitted currently. The exact services will be chosen by you, either manually or by picking one of the recommended data sources the robot found.
This way, the details that you may need but don’t feel like filling out can be transferred from somewhere else with zero effort on your part.
We already know that RPAs are brilliant when dealing with customer information. It takes them little to realize if everything on the document is written properly and if the info checks out with the data they have on you.
KYC (Know-your-client) is in the same category. These procedures are normally used by banks and finance-oriented businesses to identify and confirm you as a valid subject for their services. It’s mostly meant for security, to reaffirm that you’re an actual person and not a fake account.
After they’ve confirmed that you’re clear to enjoy their services, they’ll continue to use the RPA mechanisms to see what transactions you carry out and whether there’s something wrong or suspicious about them.
These mechanisms are trained to identify the usual traces of fraud, and they will report anything suspicious they found immediately, in addition to perhaps freezing your activities for a while.
Although the world hasn’t reached the point when accounting could be done completely by robots, some processes can already be automated. The most prominent processes are payroll handling and other actions that require work with spreadsheets and charts.
The usual action includes going through text and image accounting files and transforming this information into an accepted spreadsheet format for your convenience. Moreover, all of this data will stay afterward, and since a lot of accounting reports reference one another, RPAs can also be used to detect errors.
In general, the software has long been used to determine how much the workers should be paid, even if the robot wouldn’t assemble the necessary information without help.
Limited client interaction
Since this sort of software is completely automated, it can be taught to respond with templates, information, and advice to certain questions and inquiries. As a result, some basic forms of client service can be supplanted with just this RPA interlocutor.
There certainly are various automated messaging systems whose sole purpose is to give simple answers to simple questions and redirect people to human assistants if they have any somewhat harder inquiries. There have been algorithms like this for a long time already, but RPA software is a bit different.
It can be taught to analyze the question and give the most appropriate answer, and even formulate its own answers based on the materials it was given. The older assistants would have massive heaps of information that clients would have to go through if they wanted answers. This way is quicker.
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