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How Much Can You Automate Accounting with RPA?

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Unlocking the Full Potential of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) For Accounting Functions

The accounting and finance world consists of a lot of repetitive, manual tasks, which can take up employees’ bandwidth and exhaust you of other important tasks. For this reason, a company might opt for RPA in accounting for several reasons. Utilizing bots, RPA can significantly increase efficiency and accuracy by automating tedious tasks—something that’s prevalent in accounting and finance work.

Bots also can reduce the likelihood of human error and can free up valuable time for employees to focus on more strategic, higher-value tasks. This technology also provides better compliance and control, as every action the bot performs is fully traceable and auditable. In fact, they provide round-the-clock operations, resulting in improved productivity, which you can also track.

We believe that RPA can be implemented in every aspect of a company. Some of our clients like to start with specific departments, like accounting, to start their digital transformation journey. This is why we often hear the question, “how much can you automate accounting with RPA?”

In the remainder of this article, we will cover some of the vendors and processes we find lending themselves to RPA bots in the accounting space.

RPA Tools and Popular Vendors

There are various tools for implementing RPA bots; Microsoft Power Automate desktop is a popular option. It is a low-code platform that enables the automation of different business tasks. When combined with RPA, Power Automate integrates with various applications and can enhance workflows and productivity.

At Valenta, we use Power Automate and other RPA providers, like UiPath and Automation Anywhere, to enhance your productivity and work efficiency. Our approach is to offer bots as a service on a monthly basis.

We are also able to combine RPA with Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) and other applications to deliver comprehensive digital transformation for accounting. Frequently, we combine bots with human-in-the-loop workflows when not every process in a task can be automated. Finance and accounting workflows, which are often high-volume and rule-based, are typically good automation candidates.

Automate Accounting Processes with RPA

Automation can bring significant benefits to accounting processes by reducing manual effort, minimizing errors, and increasing efficiency. Power Automate desktop, as well as software from UiPath, are often great matches for automating both IT and accounting functions. To answer the question of how much can you automate with RPA, let’s take a closer look at some processes many of our clients choose to automate within accounting.

Below are some of the best accounting processes to consider automating.

  1. Accounts Payable and Receivable

RPA can automate matching purchase orders, invoices, and receipts in the accounts payable process. It can also validate payment terms, update vendor records, and generate payment requests or reminders. In accounts receivable, RPA can automate tasks, such as generating invoices, tracking payments, and also sending payment reminders.

  1. Bank Reconciliation

RPA can automate bank reconciliation tasks by comparing transaction records from accounting systems with bank statements. This can be performed for all types of bank accounts as well as credit card statements. Bots can identify discrepancies, investigate and resolve them, and update reconciliation statements. This automation reduces manual effort, speeds up the reconciliation process, and improves accuracy, which humans might often overlook.

  1. Expense Management

RPA can simplify expense management by automating the process of capturing and categorizing expenses. Bots work to extract data from receipts or expense reports, validate the information, and update expense tracking systems. This streamlines the reimbursement process, improves expense accuracy, and enhances compliance with expense policies.

  1. Financial Reporting

RPA can support generating financial reports by collecting data from various sources, performing calculations, and formatting the information into predefined report templates. This saves time and effort in the report preparation process, ensures data accuracy, and enables faster access to financial insights.

  1. Fixed Asset Management

RPA can automate fixed asset management processes by tracking and updating asset records. Bots can calculate depreciation, monitor additions or disposals, and generate reports on asset values and locations. This streamlines managing fixed assets, reduces manual data entry, and improves accuracy in asset tracking.

  1. Financial Data Analysis

Bots can assist in financial data analysis by extracting and consolidating data from various sources, performing calculations, and generating analytics, dashboards, and reports. This technology can analyze financial ratios, trends, or anomalies, helping with decision-making and identifying areas for improvement.

  1. Audit Trail and Compliance

Bots can assist and maintain an audit trail and ensure compliance by automating capturing and storing financial transaction details. Bots always do things the same way, which is a requirement for all compliance. They can record transaction information, track changes, and generate reports for audit purposes. This automation enhances transparency, simplifies auditing processes, and supports regulatory compliance.

  1. Data Entry and Data Migration

RPA can automate processing and entering financial data into accounting systems. This can include inputting transaction details from invoices, receipts, or bank statements. RPA bots can also streamline data migration tasks when transitioning from legacy systems to new accounting software or when moving from one accounting software platform to another.

  1. Invoice Processing

RPA can extract relevant information from invoices, such as vendor details, invoice numbers, and amounts. Bots can then match this information with purchase orders or contracts, validate it against predefined rules, and update accounting systems automatically. Using RPA to automate tasks reduces manual data entry, improves accuracy, and speeds up invoice processing.

  1. Payroll Processing

RPA can automate payroll tasks, such as collecting employee data, calculating salaries, deducting taxes, generating pay statements, and updating payroll systems. This reduces manual effort, minimizes errors, and ensures timely and accurate payroll processing.

Want to Learn More About RPA?

In this article, we have answered the following question: how much can you automate accounting with RPA? In summary, it is a pretty comprehensive list.

 Both Microsoft Power Automate and UiPath with RPA make excellent technology options for accounting automation. Additionally, RPA offers significant potential for automating tasks that are repetitive and follow a set of rules. For processes involving complex decision-making, dealing with unstructured data, or requiring human interaction, a blend of RPA and other technologies are hugely beneficial. These typically rely on machine learning (ML) or natural language processing (NLP).  A “human in the loop” approach, where RPA works alongside human workers, can also be an effective strategy for processes that are not fully automatable. Many of our accounting clients choose this method, while others opt for full automation.

Please feel free to contact any of our local Managing Partners at your convenience to address questions about the extent of automation possible with RPA. For more information on automation and bots, visit our main RPA page.  Please also explore more about all the industries we serve.