5 use cases for robotic process automation in finance and accounting

Gibson Toombs

February 25, 2022

4 min read

Robotic process automation (RPA) technology enables businesses to automate repetitive, time-consuming back-office tasks that traditionally required human intervention. Digital workers—powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)—are trained to emulate human actions when interacting with critical business tools and processes.

These bots can navigate software systems, analyze documents, extract data, and perform a wide range of other tasks—depending on the business’ needs. And unlike humans, they don’t take lunch breaks, get distracted, or go to sleep.

In the world of financial services, where tedious, rule-based tasks are commonplace, RPA technology is having a transformative effect. Properly integrating the right tools can yield many benefits, including:

  • Higher productivity: Replacing manual processes with intelligent bots means more time and energy focused on higher-priority tasks, like communicating with clients, recruiting new talent, and developing business-growth initiatives.  
  • Lower costs: With less human intervention required in certain areas of finance and accounting, businesses can cut down on payroll costs and increase their bottom line.  
  • Greater accuracy: RPA tools eliminate the risk of human error, resulting in greater operational accuracy and efficiency.

So how exactly is RPA technology leveraged to improve operations in finance and accounting? Here are the most common use cases:

Accounts receivable

RPA software can be trained to process bills and invoices so that accountants no longer need to. These financial documents are scanned for critical information, such as the customer’s signature, price, and date of purchase—then compared against other data in the system to ensure that the information is correct.

For instance, the RPA bot will match an invoice with its respective purchase order—and if it identifies any irregularities, like an incorrect price or date, that document will be flagged and forwarded to a real employee for manual review. This speeds up the approval process, allowing accounting departments to effectively receive more money over a shorter period of time.

Accounts payable

RPA software can also be used to help execute payments from your business to its third-party vendors.

Like the accounts receivable process, a software robot will scan financial documents for relevant data, then flag any potential discrepancies or duplications—so accountants only need to get involved when it’s absolutely necessary. Advanced RPA tools can be configured to understand and extract data from bills, invoices, and purchase orders—regardless of how these documents are formatted by the vendor.

Account reconciliation

By integrating with your organization’s digital banking systems, RPA tools can validate transactions and report discrepancies faster and more efficiently than any human. This involves scanning hundreds, even thousands of bank statements—depending on the size and scope of your business—and matching them with internal documents, like invoices and purchase orders.

This process used to require hours of tedious work, with an accountant hopping between internal and external data sources. Now, a bot can either confirm or deny that the cost of a transaction was the actual amount taken from your business’ account. And if the data from either source doesn’t match, the transaction will be flagged for manual reconciliation.

Fraud detection

Trained to identify breaks in specific patterns, whether it be from incoming or outgoing transactions, RPA software is a valuable tool for preventing fraud. Bots will monitor all of your business’ financial activity in real time, and send alerts to managers whenever something looks suspicious.

With manual legacy systems, atypical data often goes overlooked or is not identified until days or weeks after the fraudulent activity has occurred. RPA tools help financial services get in front of these issues before it’s too late.

Financial reporting

As your business takes on new customers, technologies, and third-party vendors, the process of collecting and analyzing data becomes more complex. By centralizing data from disparate sources into a unified system, RPA bots help simplify the process of building financial reports—and ultimately enhance your business’ data analytics, forecasting, and compliance.

Rather than having employees spend hours inputting data, your RPA solution can be trained to automate the report-building process on a routine basis. This includes reports for annual revenue, expense management, taxes, compliance, and so on.

Getting started with robotic process automation in finance and accounting

RPA technology offers greater speed, flexibility, and efficiency for financial services. With the right digital transformation partner, your business can streamline internal systems and save money by leveraging innovative tools like RPA software. And that’s where Codal comes in.

Codal is an award-winning design and development agency with over a decade of experience solving complex business problems via elegant digital solutions across a wide range of industries.  

Our team will review your existing technologies and workflows, interview stakeholders, and analyze business data to identify intelligent automation opportunities. Then, we’ll plan and execute a strategy aimed at replacing time-consuming, error-prone processes with sophisticated digital solutions. Finally, Codal will provide ongoing maintenance and support to ensure maximum efficiency and scalability for your business.

Interested in learning more about how Codal can help modernize your business via cutting-edge digital tools? Get in touch with a member of our team today!

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