Embracing Robotic Process Automation – Opportunities & Challenges for the Accountancy Profession

22nd Oct 2019
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Automation is a kind of “digital-labor” which is going to affect the organizations for many years to come.


There will be on-going vagueness over where to best start, when and how to finance in automation. Currently, North America is the largest RPA market, trailed by the United Kingdom. As far as industry, leaders in RPA approval are in Banking and Financial Services Business, followed by telecom, media, and health care.


It is being predicted that in the next few years, the accountancy business would be taken over by technologies that are capable of learning. Accounting software is the next face of this industry.

What exactly is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic Process Automation is a software program that uses records and an easy programming language that imitates the human work of applications for repetitive tasks.


It is a technology that will help in making a computer software or a robot capable of doing transactions, working on data and communicating with other digital systems.


This is definitely not a physical robot sitting at a desk executing tasks. RPA is a new alternative to improve efficiency, solving a higher Return on Investment than ERP operations and Software as a Service (SaaS) which requires more ventures in terms of time and cost. There is a real prospect for companies to spread their understanding of the technology and its effective application across finance.

Benefits of Automation

  • The major difference between RPA and IA is that the RPA performs simple automation tasks, like answering a set of queries in a chat whereas AI can go a slight further.
  • Activities such as making a contact in your CRM and updating its data across various data sources can be done in seconds.
  • It is frequently said that AI is going to convert all the sectors of society and that itself is a token of growth of a country, however, it also threatens the position of employees working in those sectors.
  • Since the implementation of RPA, there is a significant enhancement in the quality of output and the risk of human error is removed. RPA is very simple to take into your business; smart automation can be simple to bring into a business as the procedures do not have to be reworked with the new tool.


Let’s discuss the

Challenges for accountancy profession:

There are various challenges accountancy may face during the implementation of RPA in accounts:

Understanding of the application

A proper understanding would be a need and the right use of the application would give rise to improved productivity. So, understanding the application is a challenge for accountants.

Familiarity

Necessary for the accountants to get familiar with the application and the regular use of the software for various purposes might be a challenge.

Threat of loss of Bookkeeper’s job

It’s a misconception in the mind of bookkeepers that RPA will take over and accountants will lose their job. It’s the biggest challenge to keep this misconception out of the mind and concentrate on the job with RPA.

Understand instructions and Robots

AI offers ease in dealing with unstructured data, understand pattern recognition, learning the data input and output in various formats would take some time and seem challenging for the accountants.

What is the main target of RPA?

#1. Better Control

The tasks carried can be checked and logged at every step. This will help in producing valuable, logical information on software performance as well as process perceptibility, and will critically supply a review which will be helpful for agreement.


This technology uses existing data security profiles and formations so it does not negotiate with the internal controller of the application it is working with.

#2. Improved Processing Speed

As the business strains on quicker results, an important authoritative for the finance organization is the speed of delivery. The average handling time will be reduced. RPA changes the competence of tedious finance tasks as it can perform a task often within seconds rather than the hours it may take with manual, human involvement. As cycle times are intensely reduced by the execution of RPA, process quantity can be increased expressively.

#3. Low Processing Cost

Once RPA is implemented, it will eventually result in significant cost reductions for the targeted finance tasks. The processing charges may be condensed by up to 80% in most of the cases. Reduction in exertion is highly reliant on the process step being mechanized, and this, based on knowledge and available standards but can vary between 15% and 55%. A more real-world measure reflects a target cost reduction.

#4. Data Accuracy

When RPA is implemented, high-quality data is delivered, on which finance teams can look to alter the value they deliver. RPA technology usage can improve the data-accuracy and quality of data; the robots like software are programmed to follow rules, have data authentication capabilities, and do not make mistakes as a human being does.


This eventually reduces data inaccuracy and quality risk. Though we know that the software is programmable and any mistake in programming commands can lead to significant errors, so testing before going operational is very necessary. RPA is one of the main reasons for human error elimination. It improves the results in higher staff gratification.

#5. Easy Deployment and Customization

The RPA software can be automated across highly customized and modified processes considering there is a cost-profit in applying the software. Simpler processes with little concessions in delivery are the best candidates for robotic automation at the start.


While learning, the organization can increase to processes that are composite or prone to errors e.g., presence and payroll management, statement reconciliation, account records balance and tax settlement, etc.

The methodology of RPA:

  • Planning and Identifying : Planning and creating a roadmap, creating a project team for creating a target RPA process.
  • Analyzing and Deciding: Evaluating the impact of RPA, designing, and analyzing documents of a task and selecting the vendor.
  • Executing and Automating: Configuring and testing the robotics software and defining exception handling in order to create command management.
  • Maintaining and Sustaining : Establish an approach towards continuous improvement with process tracking.


Conclusion


There are many companies that are concerned that the implementation of RPA will eventually result in the loss of jobs across the professionals. Automation tools may lead to a drop in the headcount. But robot-accountants are not the real accountants. A relationship between an accountant and a client is more than just a human-calculator. People have a habit to favor human bonds as they come with trust and empathy.












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