Alright, accountants, have you heard this one?
What is the definition of “accountant?”
Someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand.
It’s funny because it’s true, of course. As you crunch away at the numbers, discovering brilliant solutions to company problems, the other departments in your organization just don’t get it.
Because the expertise knowledge and duties performed in your finance and accounting departments are so specialized, it’s sometimes hard to communicate the value to other departments. It really is like a different language.
But you know what’s easy for the C-suite to understand?
Speed and productivity – a common language that everybody speaks. That’s where robotic process automation (RPA) comes in…
Meet Robotic Process Automation
RPA uses software and custom, business defined rules to deploy robots (or “bots”), which perform step by step actions in completing a task. With RPA, many of the repeatable tasks that your team does manually can be automated and performed by a computer, saving company time and money, and resulting in those two words every executive loves to hear: speed and productivity.
Additionally, with financial regulations and security standards becoming increasingly complex, RPA provides a more unified system for delivering sensitive information within finance and accounting departments, allowing your organization to determine exactly what information is delivered to which parties.
Let’s take a look at four ways your team could use RPA…
#1 Improve Vendor Portal Experience
Your company likely purchases products or services from vendors who have web-based self-service portals where information can be easily shared with customers or suppliers. Your company is likely to also have portals of its own for customers. With RPA, you can:
- Automatically load invoices and other required documentation into portals.
- Connect all of your portals, so that your customers only have to log into a single location to get everything they need, from order forms to payment information.
- Develop a notification system from the portal that automatically sends alerts to users when required documents missing or there are incomplete payments.
#2 Generate Accurate Pricing Comps
In addition to improving user experience, RPA can result in true cost-saving benefits by automatically monitoring competitor sites and tracking price changes. (Learn more about RPA for competitive pricing and monitoring.)
A custom programmed robot can be used to visit your vendors’ websites to collect the most recent pricing data available as you prepare a quote for a client. This information is often stored in a portal or somewhere else online, making it easy for a bot to verify the pricing or update your quote software with the latest information before the quote goes out to the client.
RPA can also prove helpful for finding cost savings opportunities as you negotiate a contract or changes to a current service. For example, if your organization uses a software that’s up for renewal and has nine registered users, your bot may go crawl the service provider’s website, searching for deals, and find that by updating your service to ten registered users, you can save 20%. Or, a bot may discover and notify you of a service bundling opportunity that could result in cost savings.
#3 Collect Invoices Faster
Going back to “speed” and “productivity,” one of the most common ways to use RPA is to collect invoices across all of your vendors’ portals and deliver them automatically to your accounting staff for processing and payment. Instead of manually logging into the portal and downloading the invoice yourself, a bot can check the portal for you at an interval you determine, automatically delivering any new content to the appropriate parties for processing.
#4 Aggregate Data for Financial Reports
Robotic process automation is also commonly used in the finance/accounting world for collecting financial data for monthly, quarterly, and annual reports. Real time data can even be collected for your department’s use, allowing you to provide company executives with more robust insights than ever before.
More Uses for RPA In Finance & Accounting
The potential of RPA is limitless. Other uses include:
- Vendor and customer onboarding and maintenance
- Delivery reconciliation
- Collections through payment reminders and the aggregation of up-to-date contact information
- Sales and purchase order processing
Questions About RPA? Let’s Talk.
Want to know more about how robotic process automation could benefit your finance and accounting department? Let’s discuss your needs! Contact us to take the first step toward streamlining your processes for greater efficiency.