Saving time and money with RPA in controlling and accounting

Hardly any other area of a company is more number and data-heavy than accounting and controlling. In times of digitalisation and automation, the use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)  is becoming increasingly important. Do you work in these areas? Then find out here how you can save time and costs, optimise processes, and increase the quality of accounting with the use of RPA.

What are the benefits of RPA in controlling?

Although business processes in controlling have hardly changed in recent years, the use of RPA opens up numerous opportunities and potentials. The use of RPA can enable companies to make significant savings in controlling. In addition, companies improve efficiency and quality by automating processes. The error rate is also drastically reduced, as humans tend to make casual mistakes, especially in routine activities. Other advantages of RPA are better scalability and flexibility of process design. Overall, the use of RPA in controlling leads to faster, more precise, and more informed decisions, which in turn can lead to greater competitiveness and success in the market.

Business processes that benefit from RPA

Automation of back-office processes as part of digital transformation

Digitalization and automation of numerous business processes play a central role in the digital transformation. The quality of the evaluated data has a significant influence on the company's success compared to its competitors. In the back-office area, process automation leads to a significant increase in efficiency and saves qualified employee resources. Far too often, professionals still spend time working on standardised tasks instead of fully exploiting their creative potential. Manual processes are error-prone and can be automated through the use of RPA.

Generating information with RPA

Controlling requires a large amount of information to be collected and processed. Companies with complex organisational structures often have difficulties with increasingly complex information channels. Information from different systems and departments has to be gathered and processed. RPA can provide great support by automatically processing information from different applications and systems and storing it in different systems. This optimises the provision of information in controlling, reduces error-prone manual work and improves the quality of the data.

Better planning and control thanks to RPA

RPA also offers an effective way of freeing controllers from repetitive tasks in the planning and control system of controlling. When preparing the monthly financial statements, for example, employees have to collect a lot of information from different data sources. Due to the lack of interfaces in the company's IT system, this is often a laborious and error-prone process.

This is where departments can benefit from the use of RPA: bots automate these processes by extracting the necessary data from the various systems. By executing the processes quickly and accurately, elaborate financial statements and analyses can be carried out faster and more accurately. Even the creation of key performance indicators, which normally require a multitude of reports, Excel evaluations and external data sources, can be optimised through the use of RPA.

Since the implementation of RPA requires only minor adjustments to the IT infrastructure, it can be done quickly and easily. The added value is immediately noticeable, as the faster processing and provision of data enables the company to react immediately to market fluctuations.

RPA takes care of simple, low-complexity tasks

In finance, countless less complex use cases lend themselves to the application of RPA. These are the collection of data from various sources, the maintenance of basic data, and the creation of lists and reports with a low level of complexity.

Typical examples of low-complexity use cases include:

  • Matching credit card items with trips as part of travel expense reimbursement processes

  • Checking pending orders

  • Processing mail-to-ticket processes

  • Extraction of e-mail attachments

  • Updating and integration of master data

  • Checking duplicates in data management

RPA provides support for complex tasks

RPA can also be used for more complex use cases in controlling and accounting that require more time and human interaction from time to time. These complex cases include, for example, processing e-mail or software notifications that have to wait for human input as well as complying with complex rules and exceptions in processes. In practice, after successfully using RPA in simpler use cases, companies often have a desire to take automation a step further. This may mean automating downstream workflows in the process or adding unusual process branches that are not included in the standard process.

Typical examples of high-complexity use cases include:

  • Processing e-mails with attachments and entries into CRM systems

  • Automation of approval processes, including communication about approvals with the workforce

  • Processing of orders involving multiple locations, suppliers, or order numbers

  • Integrating human feedback into the automation process to handle exceptions and identify process improvement potential

Conclusion: the use of RPA in controlling and accounting pays off

One thing is certain: RPA, with the current state of the art, can only provide partial automation in controlling, as the tasks in this area are extremely complex. However, we have no doubt that the future use of RPA will permanently change controlling in the company. RPA already supports controlling in the automation of sub-processes, such as the preparation and provision of data and the creation of necessary evaluations. Controlling benefits from improved data quality and transparency of key figures. With the help of robotic process automation and AI, software bots can also carry out more complex tasks independently, find solutions for deviations and create recommendations for action for executives. In addition, technologies such as predictive analytics, a hot RPA trend, will help controllers to ensure future-oriented reporting - there are exciting developments ahead!