Robotic Process Automation For Finance: Top 10 Use Cases

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RPA, which stands for robotic process automation, is often seen as a magic solution to make work faster and cheaper. But does it really work well for finance and accounting tasks? We think so, and we’ll show you 10 ways of robotic process automation for finance and accounting to prove it.

What is Robotic Accounting?

Robotic accounting uses computer programs (bots) to do financial tasks that are usually boring and take a lot of time and effort.

It’s kind of like using functions in Excel. You tell the computer what to do, and it does the work for you.

But Excel functions only work in Excel. Robotic accounting can connect to other programs you use, like accounting software and ERPs (Enterprise Resource Planning systems), to do tasks there too.

Why Should You Use Robotic Process Automation for Finance?

Robotic Process Automation for Finance

Finance teams deal with lots of transactions, data, and need to be very careful. All this manual work can be overwhelming for a team that needs to be perfect, fast, and adaptable to changing rules and what customers want.

Instead of doing everything by hand, finance teams can use robotic process automation. This is a cheaper option and has great results. Since most tasks in finance are time-sensitive and repetitive, it’s easy to program a robot to do them over and over again. This saves your team time, saves the company money, and everyone benefits from work done more accurately.

10 Use Cases of Robotic Process Automation for Finance

All the new tools for robotic process automation (RPA) can help get data and connect different systems. Let’s look at 10 popular ways to use robotic process automation in finance and accounting.

Accounts Receivable

Accounts Receivable (AR) is a good place to start using automation in finance. It mostly deals with internal company data, unlike Accounts Payable (AP), which involves lots of external documents. One important thing RPA can help with in AR is Days Sales Outstanding (DSO).

DSO is the time it takes for a company to get paid by customers. It depends on both the people sending the invoices and the people paying them. For example, an accountant might forget to send an invoice, which not only delays getting paid, but if it happens often, it can mess up the whole process of getting paid and cause cash flow problems.

If you use RPA bots, they can create and send invoices automatically. This helps you get paid on time, every time, and avoid cash flow problems.

RPA can also help enter information, saving accountants from having to use many different systems. There are many other AR tasks that can be automated:

  • Managing customer data
  • Getting customer information from different places
  • Making sales quotes and entering them into the system
  • Creating and sending invoices
  • Applying payments to invoices
  • Checking customer credit
  • Resolving disputes
  • Sending reminders & requests for payment
  • Managing credit risk
  • Handling chargebacks

Accounts Payable

Robotic process automation for finance can help you improve your Days Payable Outstanding (DPO), which is how long it takes your company to pay its bills. While a high DPO can be good because it means you have more cash for a short time, it can also be bad for your reputation. A high DPO is okay if it’s because of good credit terms, but not if it’s because you can’t pay your bills on time.

Problems with paying bills usually happen when you’re processing invoices. Invoices from different suppliers look different and need to be checked against purchase orders and approved. RPA can make this whole process easier, even if the invoices are on paper, thanks to technology that can read text from images (OCR).

Software robots can send invoices to the right person for approval and set reminders. They can also match purchase orders with invoices, compare them, and tell you if there are any differences that need to be checked.

Here are some examples of what RPA can do in accounts payable and procurement:

  • Check and set up suppliers
  • Enter purchase orders
  • Get info from invoices and purchase orders
  • Process supplier invoices
  • Check invoices against purchase orders
  • Get payments ready and make them
  • Check and match payments
  • Check if expenses follow the rules
  • Find duplicate payments
  • Answer questions from suppliers

Intercompany Reconciliations

Another great way to use robotic process automation for finance is to help match transactions between different parts of the company. This process, called intercompany reconciliation, can be very stressful because it involves a lot of manual work, like entering, extracting, and checking data. In the worst cases, finding missing transactions or mistakes in invoices can stop the whole department from working.

But, a bot can make this process much easier. It can get and check transaction data from any source, automatically approve matching records, and tell you if there are any differences. With RPA, you can automate the following tasks:

  • Getting data from files
  • Finding related statements in ERP systems
  • Comparing balances
  • Looking for missing invoices and emailing customers
  • Making reports about any differences
  • Sending reports to the person in charge
  • Creating journal entries

Inventory Management

This process is about keeping track of inventory: you need to know how much stuff you have so you always have enough to sell. RPA bots can do the hard work for you and help avoid having too much or too little stock, improve delivery times, and make the most of your storage space.

Here are the tasks robots can do easily:

  • Keeping an eye on inventory
  • Telling you when stock is low
  • Ordering more products when needed
  • Making and approving orders
  • Predicting the right amount of inventory
  • Updating inventory systems
  • Making reports & following up
  • Tracking shipments

Travel & Expenses

When it comes to business trips, RPA bots can help both travelers and accountants with a lot of the manual work, making things easier for employees. They can take info from all kinds of receipts, check if they’re for business expenses, and put them into accurate expense reports—all without any extra work for the people involved.

Here’s what robotic process automation for finance can do:

  • Enter expense info and check if it follows company rules and laws
  • Put all the info together into expense reports
  • Create paychecks and manage benefits and reimbursements
  • Let you know if there are any problems with the rules or data

Payroll

Speaking of payroll, bots can help make sure employees are paid on time and correctly. They can do things like entering data, checking timesheets, and figuring out deductions. They can even get info from paper forms that some companies still use for sick days.

Here are some ways RPA can help with payroll:

  • Getting employee information
  • Checking data across different systems (sick days, business trips, timesheets)
  • Making timesheets

Tax

Even though most tax work is done in special software, finance teams still do some calculations that take time. RPA robots can do this part automatically by:

  • Collecting information for figuring out taxes
  • Creating the basis for tax calculations
  • Making reports
  • Updating tax return documents
  • Sending reports to the tax office

Treasury

Even though there are fancy systems for managing money, people still have to put in the starting information by hand. Bots can get this info and change it into a format that the system can understand. They can even do more:

  • Get and organize data
  • Update money systems
  • Send out reports
  • Update the main accounting record

Financial Plan

For planning and predicting the future, bots can help add balances to planning systems and make reports showing differences between what was planned and what actually happened. They can even use this information and past data to make predictions and help you plan your finances better.

The Tax function has a lot of routine tasks that are still done by hand to prepare reports and file information the law requires. Different systems and processes within companies can make it hard to gather and match tax-related data.

Financial Report

A good way to keep an eye on how your business is doing financially is to check your profits and losses every day. But, making these reports by hand is boring and takes a lot of time. RPA can do it for you and make perfect reports instantly. This kind of automation will make your business finances easier to understand and help you predict the future more accurately.

There are many other reports that robotic process automation for finance can help with:

  • Trial balance and balance sheets
  • Income statements
  • Profit and Loss (P&L)
  • Variance analysis (seeing how numbers differ from what was expected)
  • Closing the books at the end of a financial period
  • Reports for government or management

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I'm Neo, an RPA expert with over 10 years of experience. I have successfully implemented many complex RPA projects for large global enterprises, with extensive knowledge of leading technologies such as RPA CLOUD. My mission is to optimize performance and enhance automation in enterprise environments, delivering the most value to customers and helping them adapt and thrive in an increasingly competitive business world.