What Is Robotic Process Automation?


Still don’t know what robotic process automation (RPA) is? Don’t worry—you’re not alone.

In a recent poll, we discovered that 66% of accounting and finance professionals either haven’t heard of it or are uncertain of what the term means. So, we’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to this evolving technology.

In simple terms, robotic process automation is software that delivers automation for your daily activities. In those day-to-day activities, there are a lot of repetitive (and occasionally redundant) tasks. When these are structured and follow logic that can be defined—in other words, they’re rules-based—they can be automated.

What Are RPA’s Benefits?

The biggest benefit of robotic process automation is that it can complete repetitive activities more quickly and accurately than humans. Some use cases include transaction processing, data manipulation, and communication.

RPA’s efficiency is creating a shift in accounting and finance organizations by allowing teams to move away from tasks that don’t require skill to engaging, knowledge-based work. While some people have feared it will replace jobs, what’s actually happening across industries is that it’s transforming roles rather than replacing people.

Are There Different Kinds of RPA?

There are several different types of robotic process automation out there, and they range from incredibly specialized and custom-built to screen-scraping tools.

When researching the best solution for your organization, focus on the business process, not just the technology. Robotic process automation can deliver fast return on investment, but it’s essential to start with the low-hanging fruit.

To successfully implement RPA, it’s important to focus on what’s being automated and proactively define what success will look like. This will equip you to decide which type of software is best for your accounting and finance teams.

Will RPA Impact Finance & Accounting?

There is no question that robotic process automation is already impacting Finance and Accounting. In fact, according to a study by KPMG, 43% of executives surveyed plan on investing in the technology over the next two years.

Adopting RPA is not an “if” but a “when,” and according to Gartner, it’s essential for companies to start adopting it as soon as possible.

Being slow to modernize accounting operations not only places your company at a competitive disadvantage, but out-of-date accounting and finance practices also dramatically increase risk.

Read this white paper to learn more about how the robot uprising is changing Accounting and Finance, and the role you can play in this new landscape.