How Robotics Process Automation is Revolutionizing Accounting

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The accounting industry, which had been long-stuck in outdated procedures, has changed as a result of firms’ increased reliance on consulting services to assure their existence. The demand for accountants’ and financial advisors’ skills has also increased due to the fast-changing nature of legislation and financial advice.

Accounting must change as a result, yet the mundane activities that prevent accountants from doing more strategic work cannot be abandoned. Robotic process automation (RPA) can help with this.

The productivity of accounting organisations has dramatically increased as a result of rising automation and robotic process automation (RPA). Deloitte has set the standard by demonstrating to its clients that they can accomplish more with the same number of human employees. Staff workers are finding it difficult to keep up with the workload as a result. According to Brian Cassidy, the AI leader at Deloitte, “We’ve found that by automating routine processes, we can increase the efficiency of the firm’s operations and help our clients achieve more in the same amount of time.”

To automate their work processes, tax and accounting organisations are increasingly considering intelligent automation, an innovation that blends AI and RPA.

One significant aspect of RPA’s impact on accounting is its integration with mobile application development. With the increasing reliance on mobile devices, businesses are recognizing the need to access accounting data on the go. RPA-enabled mobile applications have emerged as a game-changer, empowering accountants to perform tasks conveniently from their smartphones or tablets.

Robotic process automation (RPA) probably makes you picture a metal, mechanical person working at the desk next to you. The World Economic Forum has predicted that within the next four years, “the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal,” so you could start to ponder what your work team will look like.

Of course, once we put the sci-fi images aside and learn more about RPA, we can understand why 73% of participants in Deloitte’s Global Intelligent Automation Survey indicated that companies have already begun to apply intelligent automation.

RPA can be used in a variety of ways by accounting companies. Automating procedures like data copying and reformatting, it can assist the company with customer onboarding. Additionally, it can be configured to carry out accounting close duties such as tax data extraction. The robots can also automate operations that call for human input and can be configured to operate within ERP systems. As a result, accountants can become trusted business consultants rather than just accounting experts.

RPA services is already being used by many accounting businesses to lighten staff members’ workloads. Partnerships have been established with top RPA suppliers like Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, and Automation Anywhere. They are able to offer RPA solutions to more than 100 clients globally because to their collaborations. The list is still expanding. Not only are audits impacted by the RPA revolution. As a result, businesses are cutting expenses and increasing productivity.

RPA can assist with customer onboarding as well. Data copying and processing might be time-consuming while providing financial close support. These tasks can be automated using RPA. Robots can be programmed to carry out ERP-related operations and extract information from client systems. According to Fritsky, they can also handle onboarding and audits. As a result, they may establish themselves as a client’s go-to business counsellor. They now have more time to engage in their passions.

RPA can lower human costs while also enhancing compliance. Additionally, it can raise productivity. Accounting businesses can save up to 25,000 hours a year by automating the data copying procedure. For a variety of factors, these savings are crucial. RPA for accounting businesses might benefit the organisation in other ways besides enhancing compliance. An entirely automated workflow will boost productivity and lighten the load on workers. Additionally, complicated tasks like audits can be done by a robot.

RPA for accounting firms will assist your staff in automating the repetitive operations. These duties involve updating financial data and copying data. In actuality, a full-time person may work on these projects for up to 25,000 hours annually. RPA will also improve compliance, in addition. An accountant can concentrate on the more valuable facets of the business by automating the tasks. There is no need to manually perform time-consuming tasks.

RPA can help when it comes to audits. The robot, for instance, can assist with onboarding new customers. The transmission of data to and from ERP systems is another illustration. Even 100% of the population can have tests run on them by the robot. A public accounting company can avoid manual audits that are excessively time-consuming and expensive with the aid of RPA. Staff time and money can also be saved. Additionally, it will improve operations by guaranteeing that nobody is left behind.

RPA can automate repetitive or time-consuming processes for accounting organisations. The programme can set reminders for the team or route invoicing to the appropriate team member. It can identify problems and compare purchase orders and invoices. Audits are another function it has. RPA for accounting firms can also lower the chance of fraud. An audit can be completed by a bot more rapidly and precisely than by a human.

RPA robots are capable of carrying out duties that call for a high level of human skill, unlike traditional accounting businesses. Additionally, the programme is capable of handling auditing and onboarding responsibilities. Additionally, the programme can decrease the amount of touches by flagging invoices for manual inspection. These tasks could be automated to simplify the process as a whole. The robots can also carry out experiments that humans are unable to carry out. RPA has a wide range of advantages for accounting firms.

Which accounting operations are automatable?

RPA bots are useful for cutting costs and improving performance because the majority of accounting operations are repetitive, time-consuming, and need high precision.

RPA bots can manage the following accounting procedures:

1.Reporting, first

RPA can be used to automatically create various types of financial reports, including:

periodic financial statements, including income statements and balance sheets

tax reports, expense reports, profit and loss (P&L) reports, and compliance reports.

Read our post about RPA reporting for more information.

2. Automation of Journal Entry

According to vendors, journal-related duties account for more than 50% of the financial closing tasks. The following advantages would result from automating the process:

1. using OCR to extract data from Excel sheets or other ERP systems in multiple formats for accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR).

2. enhancing the AP and AR systems’ input data.

3. Companies must determine where the orders originated, for instance, when there are invoices but no purchase orders. The digital footprint, however, would make it simple to locate each order’s invoice if such entries were automated.

4. real-time comments, documentation, and reconciliations added to the journal entries.

5. automatically transferring journal data to ERP platforms.

6. Time savings is the key advantage of automating journal entries. Because the journal entries have already been completed throughout the month, they are prepared for posting to the general ledger once the closing period has passed. Therefore, businesses could anticipate a quicker closing.

3. Reconciliation of Accounts

Different businesses may have different steps for account reconciliation operations. the following

1. Checking the legitimacy of issued checks and making sure all transactions have been documented are the goals of bank reconciliation.

2. To compare client bills to vendor accounts, use vendor reconciliation. Due to problems with bank payments, human error, etc., it is possible for buyers and sellers to have conflicting records of the balance when businesses conduct numerous transactions with customers. Both parties can discover and resolve their disagreements through this approach, allowing them to share the same understanding of the outstanding amount.

3. Vendor reconciliation and intercompany reconciliation are both processes that take place when multiple legal entities of the same company (such as its subsidiaries) transact business with one another. Its purpose is to find any unaccounted-for transactions or book balances, billing errors, loans, deposits, and interest.

4. Balance sheets, invoice PDFs, and accounting records are all crucial components of the account reconciliation process. Because they can quickly acquire data, compare payment information to company records, and offer real-time visibility into reconciliation performance, RPA bots can simplify the process of account reconciliation.

4. Close Financial

The financial close process, which results in a report describing the company’s financial situation, is dependent on all the earlier steps previously discussed.

The following challenges that accountants confront in financial closing and which can be automated:

1. As a result of several business units sharing data in various forms, data preparation includes manual data entry and data transformation duties.

2. Errors, missing invoices, receipts, or documentation related to journal entries

3. No access to real-time financial data

RPA bots assist firms in swiftly and accurately completing the financial closing cycle by:

  • To see all accounting data, you can import spreadsheets from various sources or accounting software.
  • employing automated checklists for accounting book closing to detect and highlight problems.
  • monitoring the closing process’s progress, deadlines, and approvals to spot bottlenecks.
  • monitoring the financial closing process’s development, schedules, and approvals to spot any potential problems.
  • comparing financial data using a reconciliation management tool or depositories.
  • In order to automate financial closing procedures, businesses can also use financial close software. For a further explanation, see our post on the financial closing automation checklist.

5. Accounts Payable

Due to its reliance on repeated processes like data extraction, invoice validation, and payment processing, accounts payable is a highly automatable process. By implementing RPA in AP, cycle time, costs, and manual errors can all be reduced.

6 Accounts Receivable

In terms of automation, accounts receivable and payable are similar.

AR tasks consist of:

1. obtaining information from customer orders and supplier invoices

2. matching orders to invoices and offers to orders.

3. sending bills for approval

4. obtaining and completing invoices

5. processing transactions

6. Companies can improve customer billing and payments by implementing RPA in their accounts receivable departments. They can also give reporting and analytics on the state of their AR operations.

RPA business cases

RPA business cases

Here are a few instances of how companies and corporations might use RPA:

  • Reduce the gap between the process to pay automation and new vendors by having a bot check their credit scores, tax records, and other vital information.
  • Utilise RPA to automate quotation to cash processes by automatically reviewing prices and comparing current prices to sales orders.
  • Create a bot to collect, combine, and reconcile transactions in your ERP

Tax Management Use Case for RPA

  • Map bots to scan spreadsheets and tax forms in the database or to retrieve financial data from the internet, such as balance sheets
  • Each field entry is copied from the paper tax form or spreadsheet into the online tax form after an appropriate mapping step.
  • If the primary data source field doesn’t match the tax form, the RPA software will signal a mistake.

Best Practices for Implementing Automation in Accounting

We observe 4 primary methods for automating accounting in businesses:

  • End-to-end solutions: Accounting functionality is provided by ERP software, and ERP vendors work to provide automation by enhancing their product and automating processes.
  • Best-of-breed products with pre-packaged automation Accounting procedures used by various firms have more things in common than variations. Machine learning is being used by new suppliers to fully automate accounting.
  • Solutions for automated customization: One of the most adaptable automation solutions is RPA software. They can assist in automating tasks unique to a firm, but businesses must be conscious that for bot upkeep to be affordable, they must maintain some RPA expertise inside.
  • An all-encompassing approach that incorporates automation solutions: Enterprises thoroughly test new solutions before using them since they are risk averse in their main business operations. To make their current system smarter, they can experiment with best-of-breed solutions or adaptable automation solutions.
  • We offer data-driven, sortable lists of vendors if you believe your company would benefit from one.

Accounting implementation of RPA’s effects

  • Implementing RPA in accounting will benefit businesses in the following ways, according to a study on automating accounting processes:
  • Abstain from financial fraud
  • Boost the calibre of accounting information
  • increase auditing effectiveness
  • Additionally, businesses will be able tomanage leaner accounting firms aid accountants in concentrating on tactical actions that can advance the company.

Conclusion

The relentless march of technology and its permeating effects in every sector have brought about a paradigm shift in accounting practices as well. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has emerged as a trailblazer, bridging the gap between traditional accounting methods and the need for efficient, error-free processes. Its implementation in automating time-consuming tasks like data copying and processing, customer onboarding, financial close support, and even auditing have not only increased productivity but also fundamentally transformed the role of accountants from data handlers to trusted business consultants.

The effectiveness of RPA is further underscored by its versatility in automating a range of accounting operations – from report generation, journal entry automation, account reconciliation, financial closing to managing accounts payable and receivable. Its capabilities are such that RPA bots can execute tasks requiring a high degree of human precision, streamlining the entire accounting process.

Successful collaborations with top RPA suppliers like Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere have demonstrated the potential of RPA in alleviating the workload of accounting professionals, thus enabling them to focus more on value-added services. The accounting industry is indeed on the cusp of a major revolution, spearheaded by RPA, as it paves the way for more efficient, cost-effective and compliant accounting practices.

RPA is no longer the future; it is the now. As accounting firms embrace this technological shift, they will not only ensure their survival but also thrive in the fast-paced and ever-changing landscape of the financial industry. The adoption and integration of RPA into everyday accounting operations are undoubtedly transforming the industry and shaping it for the better.

Bijin Azeez April 24, 2023
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