How to evolve your finance department with digital workers

Finance departments are implementing RPA by hiring digital workers to bring value and scale by automating complex accounting processes.

The RPA industry has been around for about a decade. However, only a small percentage of companies take advantage of hiring digital workers. Why?

Companies have 3 main pain points concerning RPA adoption. These are:

  1. Perception of time to value
  2. Perception of time to value
  3. Perception of time to value

To win companies over, RPA proponents need to reduce the time to value and get customers to understand that RPA isn’t a part-time job. It’s a challenge to scale up when businesses don’t understand RPA best practices. If companies treat RPA as a full-time job, concerns about scaling will dissipate.

Companies that adopt RPA need new skills sets and job roles. Adoption is about understanding how RPA applies to your company and personalizing it. In finance, RPA can be used to automate pieces of complex processes to assist human workers.

Have Businesses Missed the Automation Boat?

Early RPA adopters lead the pack, but it is never too late to get started with intelligent automation.

Over time, the industry has evolved ways to adopt RPA at scale. RPA rookies can avoid some of the errors that have been made in the past. Methods for rapid deployment have been developed that companies that are new to RPA can take advantage of.

If a client needs an automation, odds are another client down the road will need the same thing. Now is a great time to start for rookies because the mistakes have already been made. Finance and Accounting Prebuilt automations are available to give RPA rookies a head start.

Hiring Digital Workers for Automation

Now is a great time to adopt intelligent automation. Automations can have an immediate impact in the new normal. The goal is to move toward self-sufficiency with an RPA program.

There are low-complexity and high-complexity things to automate. Companies need vision and leadership. They don’t need to wait 9 months for a victory. They can win in a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost. In some RPA use cases, giving employees 5% of their time back can impact the revenue of the company 50%.

Companies need to find compelling business cases that allow them to be profitable during the pandemic and coming out of it. Businesses can solve revenue opportunity problems using robotics, but they need to do it now. They need to decrease time to customer and time to revenue. The main driver for adoption is operational efficiency.

Those companies that are missing out on RPA opportunities are those that haven’t proven the value of automation. Those that are winning are those that are automating processes that are crucial to their business. These automations create greater margins and reduce friction for the customer.

What is a Digital Worker?

The pandemic has taken away the excuses and aversion to risk. Employees are already working from home. Customers are already using new ways to purchase products. Companies that can be creative with automation now will come out the other side in good shape.

Companies should start with high-volume, repetitive tasks. Ask yourself, “What is the biggest pain in my rear?” How does it affect you personally? Robots can take away the tasks that lead to attrition. In finance, new graduates are going to go to companies that are already using automation. Take into consideration stakeholders and what is important to them.

Finance Jobs a Digital Worker Can Do

In finance, a mix of human and digital workers can be used to accomplish complex processes, such as the procure-to-pay process.  RPA can be iteratively interjected. For example, in a complex vendor portal, information is entered in multiple places. A human would need some logic-based data that a digital worker can provide. In this role, a digital worker empowers human activity by performing a small piece of a complex task.

In invoice management, there may be a problem in how the onboarding process begins. RPA can discover a problem on the back end. With RPA, the company could capture revenue from a source they weren’t paying attention to.

Finance and accounting companies often use RPA for bite-sized parts of larger processes. Where meaningful ROI is created is automating end-to-end processes. By employing prebuilt solutions, companies can hire pretrained digital worker who already know where the quick wins are. RPA adoption requires rethinking an overall strategy. Think not only about how to automate a process, but also how to better it. Digital workers in RPA don’t replace a whole position. Instead, it helps the human worker focus on more creative high-value tasks, leaving the robotic work for robots.

Another example of a finance use case is credit card chargebacks. Some people who go to restaurants don’t like to pay their bills. There is a lot of customer fraud. Restaurants need a way to tell if their receipts are accurate at the end of the night. What percentage of customers is going to contest a charge?

Automation can reduce the number of chargebacks and time to reconciliation. RPA can also incentivize customers to pay past-due charges. Automation can find the right channel, message, order, and the touchpoint for the customer.

Using RPA, companies can understand how much money is at risk and how to collect. Automation gives them visibility into which customers they want to have back and which they want to avoid.

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How to Get Started Hiring Digital Workers

On a tactical level, robots can perform a thousand tasks in 30 minutes. However, your company needs to find the tasks that have value.

There is a lot of low-hanging fruit in automation, but your company needs to find one compelling use case to start. If the first one doesn’t work, forget about scale. If that first automation is successful, then develop 8, 9, 10 automations to build momentum.

No one’s losing their job. No one gets fired. Attrition due to automation is negligible compared to natural attrition.

According to McKinsey & Company, 42% of finance functions can be fully automated, while 19% can be partially automated. This finding points to how finance functions are data driven.

To get started, your company should try to make a shift to 5% automation efficiency to get that 50% in additional revenue.

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