Imagine being able to replace manual, repetitive and timely processes with automation software that can carry out work more efficiently, faster and more accurately. This notion doesn’t have to exist solely in your imagination. With process automation and the variety of business process automation solutions, you can optimise your organisation and its workflows seamlessly.
Let’s dive into what you need to know to get started.
Process automation is the use of technology to automate recurring processes and tasks within a business setting. Business process automation may also be called business automation or digital transformation.
Automation tools exist to make businesses work better by replacing manual tasks thereby eliminating errors and removing the threat of bottlenecks. Many businesses are utilising automation tools to boost productivity, reduce costs and increase service quality.
What is Robotic Process Automation?
Robotic process automation (RPA) is a technological application that is used to automate processes. RPA tools mirror a human’s actions and then carry out processes with little to no human intervention thereafter. Companies configure a robot (or software solution) to carry out actions such as manipulating data, processing a transaction or communicating with other systems. RPA can manage simple and complex tasks, such as triggering an email or completing account reconciliation.
What are the Benefits of Process Automation?
Organisations looking to optimise their workflows, maximise production and minimise costs can utilise process automation to do so. Automation software brings with it a variety of benefits to a business of any size.
Let’s review some upsides:
Increased operational efficiency through the reduction or elimination of manual tasks
Ability to test “what if” scenarios and conduct data analysis that can provide insights to make decisions
Enhanced process visibility and access controls to better understand the status of any process in real-time
Better workforce management that grants the power to properly prioritise and allocate resources
Access to securely stored data and audit trails making it easy to meet compliance needs
More customer and employee satisfaction by way of quicker communication, problem resolution and freeing employee time to focus on high level tasks
Streamlined processes with the elimination of key person dependencies since the software can carry out tasks that no longer rely on a human to perform
What are the Cons of Process Automation?
As with any type of tool or technology, the implementation and purpose must be properly managed and defined in order to reap the benefits. Some may argue that robotic process automation seemingly threatens jobs. However, robotic process automation isn’t meant to replace humans entirely.
Instead, organisations can add process automation to their workflow so that their employees no longer have to suffer through tedious, monotonous and repetitive tasks. Oftentimes, organisations realise that by adding process automation, they’ve opened the door to having a more engaged, inclusive and innovative workforce as their employees’ time can be spent on work that requires human thought.
This is one of the reasons why finance teams have shifted to become strategic partners, rather than only focusing on data entry, manipulation and report creation. When you understand where to implement RPA and can see what it’s meant for clearly, then you can avoid running the risk of having any downsides.
Which Process Automation Technology is Best?
Just as it is crucial to know where to implement process automation within your business, you also will need to know which tool is best suited to your needs. There are a variety of RPA software to choose from, so we’ve compiled an abbreviated list of some fan favorites.
SolveXia: SolveXia is known to be a financial human analytical automation software. By way of cloud computing, it allows for teams to have access to data quickly and reliably from wherever they may need it, and information is updated in real-time. The easy-to-use drag and drop interface allows for immediate deployment and setup with little to no coding knowledge so that teams can start automating processes easily. SolveXia has advanced data analytics capabilities, helps to reduce compliance risk and is securely designed to protect user data. It is the ideal solution for finance teams looking for more accuracy, and enabling their team to carry out high value tasks that deliver more and clearer insights to the business.
UiPath: UiPath is another tool that helps teams achieve digital transformation. It can operate in the cloud or on-premise and provides process automation capabilities. The tool is made of software bots that can either be deployed for everyday tasks or further developed to manage complex workflows
Automation Anywhere: Automation Anywhere provides enterprise RPA that combines robotic process automation and artificial intelligence. There are pre-built bots that users can choose to use. Business leaders across industries like banking, healthcare, manufacturing and the public sector have chosen this tool to automate their processes.
What Companies Use Process Automation?
You’ll be hard pressed to find successful companies that aren’t using process automation. Across industries, businesses are leveraging the power of automation to stay competitive and productive.
For industries that manage a large number of transactions on a daily basis, process automation is pivotal. Banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, manufacturing plants, healthcare organisations and more have implemented automation to maximise their operations. For example, Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, Anthem, and AT&T are just a few companies that are benefiting from business automation solutions.
Expert Tips for Process Automation and RPA
If you’re reading this, then you probably want to know if automation and RPA are worth it for your business. As we’ve mentioned, it’s really important to properly choose your automation partner, as well as understand how and where you’ll utilise RPA.
To achieve the latter, keep in mind the following expert tips:
Manage expectations: Before you choose an automation partner or solution, outline the goals you’re looking to achieve. Then, be communicative, transparent and discerning when working with your technology partner to ensure that their tool can meet your needs.
Assess business impact: Although RPA is designed to reduce costs and maximise efficiency, its business impact can be even greater. It can help to boost customer satisfaction and employee retention, for example. These impacts should be considered and shared when seeking buy-in from stakeholders and business leaders to deploy process automation.
Start small: It’s easy to get carried away with process automation once you start seeing its benefits in action. However, robotic process automation is just one piece of the digital transformation puzzle. There’s also intelligent automation and machine learning, for example, that can be used depending on the need.
Measure results: Since you’ll replace manual tasks with automation, you can measure its impact by defining your key performance indicators (KPIs) in advance. To illustrate, if you plan to use RPA to manage invoice processing, then you can measure the average amount of days it takes to be paid once you involve the software.
Prioritise people: Don’t forget about your people! Organisations often focus on the benefits of RPA and forget to acknowledge the people that RPA affects. When deploying a new software tool, make sure that everyone is on board and aware of the changes. When you involve your team, especially those who manage the processes that are being automated, the changes are more likely to be successful.
Process Automation Examples
Different businesses utilise process automation according to their needs. There are many process automation examples that help to deeply understand how it works and benefits teams across industries:
Accounts Payable: Many companies receive paper invoices that must then be approved for payment and paid. However, if an invoice ends up being misplaced or sits on a desk for too long waiting for approval, businesses run the risk of threatening their relationship with vendors. Instead, RPA can be used. By this method, vendors submit invoices electronically that are then automatically routed to the necessary department and approved for payment.
Employee Onboarding: Bringing on new employees generally ends up being a time-consuming endeavour. From scouring through applications to the interview process and follow-up documentation completion, there’s a lot that has to be done and managed. To streamline the process, many organisations use process automation so that new employees can complete their paperwork online. Once forms are submitted, they get routed and reviewed and employees can be onboarded in much less time than if done manually.
Expense Reimbursements: Instead of manually sifting through receipts and matching expense reports, software automation systems can compare data and approve expenses to be reimbursed without delay.
What Processes Should Finance Automate?
Finance teams have an immense amount of processes that are perfectly fit for process automation. This is because it’s best to automate processes that meet the following criteria:
Impacts other systems and processes
Requires compliance and audit trails
Various people are involved
Repetitive in nature
Some processes that organisations automate may include:
Call center processes
Best Practices for Business Process Automation
Process automation is meant to make your business better. But, it takes a proactive approach to implement properly.
To ensure success on your automation journey, be sure to:
Have a clearly defined set of objectives
Outline the current processes and people involved
Measure results in a phased approach, which means that you first accept that results take time
Have a long-term approach in mind
Make sure to train employees and communicate changes before adding a new software to the organisation
Choose a software tool that offers resources and support
Process automation continues to be a game changer for all organisations that utilise it, especially finance teams. The fast-paced and iterative nature of many finance functions make it well suited for business automation solutions like SolveXia to aid in streamlining workflows to maximise efficiency and minimise errors.