While there is a lot of value in customer-focused process improvement, if you are starting out with RPA and building your “bot” capability, it is best to target inward operational process improvements first.
This will help you learn what works and what doesn’t, and then move up the risk curve to supplier processes and customers experiences.
Finance Operations processes are ideal candidates for RPA as they fall into the success profile and criteria of short, repetitive and rules-based activities with a small number of outcomes.
Something as simple as, checking a Purchase Order number matches or doesn’t, and the order values reconcile or don’t.
Amongst the array of Finance processes, the best fit processes and most likely candidates for your Bot army are:
1. Period or Year End Close
Bots can perform data extraction and collation, post to your sub-ledgers and reconcile it in your ERP for accounting close.
2. Managing Data
Bots can collect and analyse financial and operational performance, freeing up human time to spend developing insights.
3. Creating Reports
Bots can create and deliver management reporting and financial reporting to internal customers and file external reports to regulatory bodies. Your finance business partnering team can then focus on providing insight and complex decision support, and financial reporting team can focus on the more complex tasks of new regulation, technical disclosures and statements supporting regulatory framework.
4. Accounts Payable and Receivable
Bots can reduce the cycle time to receive payments and improve cash flow, by continuous processing, matching and highlighting exceptions to speed up queries resolution. Bots can reduce effort by paying your suppliers in line with agreed credit terms. Consequently, your organisation becomes easier to do business with and your suppliers will be happier with you, than your competitors.
As you can see these are straight forward areas of improvement to introduce RPA robots, and prove the capability works, before moving to bigger improvements.
Stay tuned for learning #4: “What are the proven benefits of RPA? We go behind the RPA hype?”
More big questions here – #BQs