Asana’s 2021 The Anatomy of Work Index reveals that people spend over half of their time on low-level work such as following up for feedback or searching for files. RPA in finance and accounting has been shown to save up to 90% of time spent on these draining activities. Robots can take over repetitive, low-value work such as:
Some robots can even intelligently interpret text, make conversation, and apply machine learning models to help make key business decisions. Cognitive automation can produce even larger time and cost savings because the machines will intelligently determine the best, most efficient processes.
Tedious activities like the ones listed above take up a lot of energy, and that’s not including the time your team will have to spend manually combing through documents for errors. Bad data can cost most companies the equivalent of 15% to 25% of their revenue, and also cause regulatory and reputational risks.
Even tiny inaccuracies in data, forms, and numbers can compound over time until you have a back office full of mismatched information. If you’ve found that your team tends to make small, but consistent mistakes, the tasks they perform may be a prime candidate for automation.
Some businesses adopt tool after tool to try and bring their organisation online, with each one promising the answer to the confusion surrounding digital transformation—yet failing to deliver. Before you know it, your company becomes bloated and slow-moving, and you’re trapped under a mountain of subscription bills. (In 2020, the average company was using 80 different SaaS tools).
You can apply RPA to cut down on unnecessary SaaS tools, programs, and applications. As you remake your business process by process, you can achieve a faster, more flexible organisation—and juggle fewer apps, platforms, and software along the way.
RPA offers a rapid, significant return on investment (ROI) and minimal upfront investment. Compared to the painful process of hiring—and firing—new team members, robots can be deployed and turned off whenever you need them. They can also cost just one-third as much as an offshore employee or one-fifth as much as an onshore one.
Best of all—RPA isn’t locked to a single vendor. Robots are vendor-agnostic. If one vendor isn’t giving you the results you need, then you can switch or augment with a different service to fill the gap. Systems Integrators like HKBN JOS understand that sometimes, the “best” is a customised mix of many different solutions.
Robots are a brand-new tech for many—and without the help of an expert, business executives might not know how to follow through on the project and ensure lasting success.
It wouldn’t make sense to simply buy AR headsets or purchase a new machine without getting help from those who’ve been there, done that. Though robots are deceptively simple, you’ll still need assistance from experienced consultants to maximise their effectiveness in your organisation.
Before the RPA project begins, companies may not even understand how their business works and which processes their employees are following. This can cause delays in RPA implementation, as executives struggle to pinpoint the processes that most urgently need to be upgraded.
Clients might also jump off the wagon when the design or planning stage gets very complex and confusing. Installing thousands of bots can take longer than expected. It’s also complex to try and unite multiple disparate systems.
Many vendors, like HKBN JOS, are aware that RPA can look intimidating to many companies big or small. That’s why we’ve specially curated a fundamental and fixed Robotic Process Automation package. With this starter setup, finance and accounting departments can more easily adopt RPA to optimise their processes, with no complexity involved.
Though RPA projects can look simpler and smaller scale than other digital transformation initiatives, they can still experience scope creep. Additionally, it’s possible to implement robots where they’re not actually needed. This wastes the time and energy of everyone involved.
Many leading global enterprises are adopting RPA; your company can be one of them, no matter what size it is. The key is to start small and slowly build up, following a clear plan.
As with all projects, you need to lay the foundation first. Small pilot projects can help build a case for a larger-scale implementation. You can start learning about robotic process automation by talking to vendors who specialise in more than just RPA (read Step 2 to see why). Top-quality vendors will also have use cases as references for you to explore.
Assess your organisation’s gaps with the help of a Systems Integrator—an entity with experience in digitalising large organisations—to identify which aspects of your business would benefit from RPA most.
Implement RPA initiatives piece by piece, then continually use robotics to identify further opportunities for change.
Tip: A system integrator has the abilities to assess your entire IT ecosystem, cutting the first two steps short.
Many digital transformation initiatives suffer from mismatched expectations from executives which are fuelled by consultants, RPA vendors, and overly optimistic blogs. RPA will not magically fix all of the organisation’s problems. Rather, the most successful RPA projects are carried out by leaders with a good grasp of their business.
It’s important to have a candid, honest talk with your team about what you’re looking to achieve—and how good your results will be.
RPA can be very helpful – if you have a clear road map in mind. A goal such as “improve ROI” or “reduce costs” is lofty and unclear. Instead, you can identify specific problems to be solved by taking pulse surveys or communicating with team leads.
It’s a great idea to set SMART goals or OKRs for an RPA project so you can determine whether the proposed robot would be useful.
Though RPA may be touted by some vendors as an easy, low-code solution that anyone can implement, business unit managers still need to involve IT from the beginning to ensure that implementation is concerted, streamlined, and effective. Poor initiative design can cause your business to suffer.
Just like humans, bots can create bottlenecks or struggle to adjust to changes in policies—your IT team needs to be aware of your plans so they can take charge of updating bot protocols as the organization changes.
A business that turns the RPA key will likely have more than one bot at work. Communication between humans and bots, and between bots and other bots, can get unwieldy very quickly. How will you encourage the bots to work together cohesively?
Though RPA is usually considered to be minimally disruptive, CIOs and executives still need to consider how RPA can impact existing operations and where they’ll fit in. You could add robots to your organisational structure diagram to improve clarity and efficacy.
Robots are often used in conjunction with machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to track, then make sense of data. Executives can get overly excited about the wealth of information that a team of bots can collect and decide to collect data that isn’t useful.
Remember: though big data is going to be more and more important in coming years, organisation should place more focus on the quality and relevancy of the data they collect. Machine learning algorithms and data collection and processing can consume a lot of energy—causing you more in the long run and introducing confusion where you need clarity.
The ultimate goal of RPA is to make life easier for employees, so they can create more valuable work. RPA will never replace your human staff—rather, it will help you prioritise the most valuable tasks and assignments.
When implementing RPA, don’t forget to link the robots back to the people using them. Employees who aren’t in the loop can find themselves disrupted and frustrated.
After working with numerous top firms, JOS spotted common patterns in the RPA transformations of their respective account and finance departments. We’ve developed our basic RPA package as a response to these common demands and concerns.
Designed to be implementable as a small pilot project, our basic package saves clients the hassle and trouble of the planning and development phase. You can explore this package and test it out to see how it works and see how much time and resources it has saved. Afterwards, it’s easy to scale up.
RPA is an opportunity for companies to work smarter, not harder. If you feel you need more help to make an impactful RPA program, you can always Contact us for a customised RPA plan.
Posted on: 8 Nov 2021
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