Getting Started with Bots (Keys to a Successful RPA Program)

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Prepared By: Kevin Black, CPA, CIA – Senior Accountant

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a bot do some of the repetitive and manual processes of your job so you have more time to focus on critical work areas? Many organizations are looking into robotics to imitate human actions and work across current systems to gain efficiencies and reduce costs.  Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is one of the latest technological disruptions (in a great way!) used by companies around the globe. But where to start, when there are so many programs to choose from and the learning curve appears to be a steep one. Many organizations are rushing to buy software, hire developers and consulting firms to implement but selecting the right process will be the most important step in successfully implementing your RPA program.

  • Which processes need improvement? Are there current hang-ups that could be more efficient in the payables process (i.e. manual agreement of PO and invoice)?
  • Which processes have the greatest opportunity for cost/time reduction? Make a list of the potential RPA projects and perform a cost benefit analysis to identify the best opportunity.
  • Which have the most negative impact to department goals? Are there certain close processes or tasks that are manual in nature that have to be completed in order for a timely close to occur?
  • What will be the impact to risk or compliance with the introduction of RPA? Will increased accuracy results or automatic processes reduce historical compliance testing and related cost?
  • Will it create large enough benefits? Can this project be scaled across the business?
  • How will the process owner react to RPA? This should free up more time so that employees can focus on investigating exceptions identified by the bot or providing other service improvements in their department.  

Entire processes are not, and frankly cannot, be automated overnight. The best RPA projects use bots to carry out the basic work initially, allowing the process owner to do more. While some of the more routine or high transaction volume work is automated, process owners can best determine and decide the other tasks that the bot will take on next. Over time and properly structured in phases, processes can be optimized using RPA. Need help in identifying the best opportunities for RPA projects or making sure your bots are working as intended, reach out to our advisors today.

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