Robotic process automation (RPA) is the use of software that mimics human interaction with core systems, web and desktop applications to execute processes. RPA is an effective cost and time enabler, complementing any digital transformation journey to streamline business processes, achieve profitability and maintain a competitive advantage.
The best tasks for automation are the tasks that:
- Are rules-based, to allow decision flows to alter dynamically
- Are consistent, with the same step being performed repeatedly
- Are template-driven, with data entered into specific fields in a repetitive manner
Non-invasive technology can be laid over existing systems and integrated with existing data, minimizing disruption to existing IT strategy and architecture. RPA technology can begin with simple rules-based tasks, and scale to more sophisticated algorithms and machine-learning functions as the organization matures.
What are the benefits of RPA?
- Accuracy: RPA provides accurate results, with precision in decision or calculation.
- Audit trail: It provides the availability of fully maintained logs, which is essential for compliance.
- Cost savings: RPA can provide cost savings ranging from 20% to 60% of baseline FTE cost.
- Reliability: RPA removes the need to account for sick days, making services available 365 days a year.
- Return on investment (ROI): Typical RPA projects include multiple functional “pilots,” but the program is completed in 9 to 12 months with an ROI of less than one year.
- Right shoring: Geographical independence reduces the need to offshore jobs while still delivering cost savings.
- Productivity: RPA allows the freeing up of human resources for higher value-added tasks.
- Cross-industry: The standardized procedures make processes compatible across industries.
Potential application of automation in the finance function
In the finance function, RPA can automate tasks that are of a repetitive nature and require tedious manual efforts, such as: