This page describes the typical characteristics of a process that is well suited for automation including:

  • Inputs
  • Outputs
  • Processing needed to get from inputs to outputs

Inputs:

Processes suitable for automation source data from almost any system. Typically data is provided in the form of files including:

  • Excel workbooks
  • Text/csv files
  • Access databases

Examples of inputs:

  • Extracts from general ledger such as SAP or Oracle
  • Data from a data warehouse
  • An Excel workbook produced by an upstream process
  • Master data (extracted to a file) such as lookup tables and referential data.

Outputs:

Processes suitable for automation often produce:

  • Reports in Excel, Word and PDF format.
  • Text/CSV files (often to be loaded into other systems).
  • Online reports and dashboards.

Example of outputs:

  • A KPI report in Excel.
  • Reconciliation results in Excel.
  • A Board Pack in PDF.
  • Journal uploads in CSV.
  • An ABA file for the bank.
  • A regulatory report in Word.

Processing (from inputs to outputs):

The types of actions most commonly seen when automating include:

  • Copying data between files.
  • Performing calculations.
  • Identifying and removing exceptions.
  • Aggregating and sorting.
  • Comparing and reconciling lists.
  • Merging or looking up data.
  • Importing/exporting data between file formats (e.g. Text to Excel).
  • Checking file formats and structure.
  • Sending emails and SMS.

Examples:

  • Copying Oracle GL data from an extract into a report template.
  • Removing records that are from the incorrect state (e.g. WA when processing for NSW).
  • Looking up a product description from a master list extract using a product code.
  • Aggregating the number of exceptions by cost centre.
  • Applying the appropriate commission % to sales data.
  • Sending the board pack to the CFO for review.

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