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  • Posted by: Dante Odoni

What Does Robot Process Automation Mean To Accounting?

With the emergence of Robot Process Automation (RPA), a slew of questions arise. What is the role of RPA? Can RPA help my small business? Will RPA automate the accounting process to the point that accountants are no longer needed, and people lose their jobs?

What is Robot Process Automation (RPA)?

You may have heard the term “robo-accountants.” Does this mean RPA will replace your accountant?

RPA utilizes artificial intelligence to carry out basic, repeatable tasks such as transaction processing, vendor invoices, financial closes, and reconciliations.

RPA can process data rapidly and reduce errors that may be present in human computation. This streamlines the process and ensures the data left to analyze is error-free. RPA is a tool, like any software. It is not a replacement for a human accountant.

Understanding the Role of Robot Process Automation

RPA has the ability to streamline the accounting process. This technology has the capacity to do the repetitive tasks that often take up copious amounts of time, such as inputting data or copy and pasting it from one spot to the next. RPA is able to perform such tasks quickly, accurately, and tirelessly. It can utilize formulas to automate many mundane tasks. This speeds up the audit process and frees up the accountant’s time to do more meaningful work.

RPA is effective when your accountant plugs in a formula and allows the RPA to carry out those tasks. RPA in itself is inflexible, meaning it is dependent on human instruction and cannot deviate from the process when it encounters differences.

It takes a real person to analyze the information and set the RPA in motion. It takes a real person to deliver financial analysis and offer business guidance based on those facts.

The consulting firm Protiviti conducted research and published a report on RPA. Angelo Poulikakos, a managing director at Protiviti, stated the following:

“One thing we have found is some of those processes that are repetitive, high volume, rules-based, they can be a bit mundane, and sometimes those job rules can be fluid, so there’s a lot of cost in constantly having to onboard new resources… RPA can provide a level of stability in dealing with those types of tasks that are mundane. It gets the accountant to focus more on those higher value activities instead of the repetitive work.”

This statement illustrates how useful RPA is in the accounting world, as it frees up human resources for higher-level tasks.

How does RPA Help my Business?

When your accountant uses RPA, this frees up valuable resources to make accounting more personal. Once the mundane, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks are out of the way, your accountant is able to redirect their attention. They will be able to deeply analyze your business and develop strategies to increase your profitability.

Robot Process Automation streamlines the process so that your accountant can spend their time doing what serves you best: analyzing the data to find areas for improvement to help your business move in the direction of continual growth.