For many, the idea of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) might conjure images of large automated assembly line welders and pickers. But RPA actually refers to software robots, or applications that replicate human interaction with a user interface on a computer system. In finance and accounting, the so-called “robots” are not just replacing simple, routine tasks such as data entry or report generation, but also mundane processes such as the manual certification of account reconciliations or ticking, tying, and matching thousands of transactions. Finance automation software applications can provide out-of-the-box best practices, workflow management, data structuring, and risk mitigation solutions.

What is so significant about Robotic Process Automation? Everything.

To be more precise, RPA is causing us to rethink how we administer business processes and workflow. Some even claim that it could change the workplace to a degree not seen since the Industrial Revolution.

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  • How RPA works - Robotic Process Automation software can contain several features that eliminate rote tasks. For example, tools for locating and grabbing data such as screen scraping, image recognition, language reconciliation, or handwriting analysis, plus the ability to link to access servers and websites.
  • Where RPA works best - Business processes that are ideally suited to RPA include customer resource management and employee resource management, claims applications, and general ledger tasks. Most importantly, RPA software is especially useful for organizations that have multiple, and different, systems that need to work together seamlessly.
  • The unique value of RPA - Adaptability and circumstantial awareness distinguish RPA from traditional IT automation. Once IT or the RPA team has ‘trained’ the software, it can interpret the actions of business processes in existing applications. The RPA solution can then respond to that application, start a new action, and communicate with other systems.
  • How RPA improves customer service - RPA tools can provide answers to customer or employee questions in natural language. They can improve service desk operations and the monitoring of network devices. And they can better manage remote IT infrastructures by monitoring and solving problems faster.
  • The impact of RPA on your IT organization - Once the RPA solution is implemented, repetitive tasks that used to fall to IT can now be handed off to the RPA team to manage and assign to robots, and the gains become significant.

Robotic Process Automation doesn’t replace the skills of accountants. It frees accountants to be more efficient and effective. It frees them to be exceptional. Exceptional Accountants will become the front line in an organization’s strategic arsenal, and the experts on its business. They will be better equipped to assess and react to market conditions, address compliance and fraud issues, and innovate.