Is RPA the Key to a Faster, Smarter Financial Close?


Part 1 of our Smart Close blog series. Read Part 2 here.

The Survey of American Fears, conducted by Chapman University, discovered that people were more afraid of robots than they were of death. Overall, the fear of technology was ranked second only to man-made disasters.

But why are we so apprehensive—terrified, really—by the prospect of a future that involves robots?

Blame it on science fiction.

That immensely entertaining, brain-teasing genre hasn’t just inspired us—it’s also terrified us into viewing robots as the enemy. Yet if sci-fi were unerringly prophetic, we’d already be living in a dystopic future. And truth be told, we’re all still operating in a very tangible reality.

RPA to the Rescue

In business, nowhere is this uncertainty about “bots” more evident than in traditional period-end closing processes.

Accountants spend days, weeks even, wrangling thousands of spreadsheets and manually reconciling data—even though new technology now enables the close to be completed more accurately, with less effort, and with significantly reduced risk of error.

One of these noteworthy technologies is robotic process automation (RPA), and it’s one of the most impactful innovations to happen to the close since the invention of green-bar paper. RPA automates manual tasks, manages workflow, and standardizes the close process across complex organizations and IT landscapes.

Organizations utilizing RPA have:

  • Automated accounting and finance processes up to 80%

  • Increased accounting productivity by 50%

  • Improved shared service center efficiency by as much as 75%

Yet many still resist this technology, as evidenced by the pace at which Finance is adopting it.

Slowly. Glacially.

But RPA, rather than ushering in the robot rebellion, is going to enable accountants to finally do what they’re meant to be doing: performing analysis, advising the business, and providing impactful financial data to shape their organizations’ future.  Accountants can focus on all of this while still closing the books timelier and more accurately than ever before.

Working Smarter

BlackLine Smart Close builds on an RPA foundation to streamline the financial close with specific conditional workflow and automatic scheduling. It automates the repetitive tasks that are a poor use of highly skilled resources, so accountants can focus on value-adding activities.

By combining the latest in Robotic Process Automation and financial close intelligence, while embedded within SAP, Smart Close provides powerful efficiency gains and improves trust in the financial close. This enables accounting organizations to drive global standardization while maintaining a degree of local flexibility.

It’s Time for a Better Financial Close

Modern finance organizations are moving to process standardization and financial automation to make the best use of talent and be more strategic. BlackLine Smart Close for SAP is proven to automate as much as 70% of financial close tasks by providing self-service and standardized financial close automation, embedded directly within SAP.

Powered by the latest Robotic Process Automation innovations, your organization will gain the confidence of stronger internal controls and automated, audit-ready processes that improve productivity and standardization. Join industry leaders like Deloitte, Philips, Cargill, Procter & Gamble and many more—and simplify, standardize, and automate your financial close with BlackLine Smart Close.

Read this brief to learn more about how your organization can upgrade to a faster and smarter financial close.