6 ways RPAaaS can help solve your automation challenges

James H. Hannan
6 ways RPAaaS can help solve your automation challenges

Robotic process automation as a service uses easy-to-implement technology to help overcome finance function issues.

Many finance departments struggle with building efficient and reliable processes, particularly because of the gaps between what existing systems do and what business processes require.

The result? Many painful, manual workarounds using spreadsheet software – keying, manipulating, and rekeying of data – add cost, time, and risk of failure to the process. Moreover, the pandemic has demonstrated the need for resilient processes that rely less on human operations.

What do companies need now more than ever? Automation.

Despite the need, automating business processes remains a real challenge for many organizations for a variety of reasons. How does the modern finance function overcome these challenges while meeting the goal of reducing reliance on manual operations?

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What is RPA as a service, and how can it help?

Robotic process automation as a service (RPAaaS) could be the answer. RPAaaS uses the power of robotic process automation (RPA) to solve automation challenges in a simple, easy-to-implement technology that runs on existing systems.

RPA is programmable software that performs rules-based processes by interacting with applications in the same manner as human workers do. Essentially, RPA can automate any logic-based process performed by humans on applications.

RPA as a service uses an RPA platform to design and build automations (“bots”). Organizations can rent the bots as needed, and the platform provides maintenance and support. RPA as a service simplifies the deployment of RPA, building and securely deploying needed automations on systems, typically in less time and with less expense.

For example, RPA as a service can be deployed to automate processing of vendor invoices received at a centralized accounts payable inbox, completing and submitting tax forms, extracting bank information to reconcile and post cash receipts, moving data from operational systems to the finance system, and other manual tasks performed using applications.

Here are six automation challenges that RPA as a service can help overcome.

Challenge 1: Inconsistent, nonstandard, and complex processes

Processes typically evolve to meet the demands of internal and external customers using the tools, skill sets, and resources available. Consequently, processes vary depending on when, where, or by whom the process is performed and are often used on an ad hoc basis. Automating an inconsistent or nonstandard process can be complex, time-consuming, and often ineffective.

Solution 1: Automated workarounds

RPA as a service is a technology that easily replicates the manual steps performed by humans. Virtually any manual process performed using applications can be automated, eliminating painful and redundant manual work.

Challenge 2: Errors and rework

The finance function is often the unwilling recipient of errors created upstream that must be corrected downstream. Automating error-filled processes might simply speed up and amplify the problems, creating pileups in finance.

Solution 2: Automatic identification and correction of errors

RPA as a service can identify and correct typical errors, eliminating rework. And it doesn’t get tired of doing the same thing over and over again.

Challenge 3: Suboptimized ERP systems

Modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are quite complex, and expertise on how to get the most out of these systems is hard to find. So relevant functionality that would support automation often goes unused.

Solution 3: Standardized process

A key step in building RPAaaS automation is to define the steps to be automated. This allows for definition of the process rules and implementation of a standardized, best-practice, automated process with strong internal controls.

Challenge 4: Costly and complex enhancements

Building enhancements to existing systems is a long, costly process, and finance is typically at the end of the line for help. Moreover, these modifications often create more problems than they solve if not managed properly.

Solution 4: Simple, quick, and cost-effective implementation

RPA as a service can be implemented quickly, and automations can be less expensive. Scaling the automations over time based on the organization’s resources and comfort level is key. An organization can start out small with a proof of concept and then, as the benefits from RPA as a service are realized, use the savings from operating bots to fund the cost of building additional automations.

Challenge 5: Lack of knowledge and skills

In many finance departments, knowledge of the tools available and the skills to deploy these tools might be lacking, particularly as new software tools come to market all the time.

Solution 5: Complete service

Specialized internal expertise and IT resources are not necessary. The RPAaaS platform’s team of developers and business analysts will design, build, run, and maintain the automation.

Challenge 6: Uncertainty regarding cost and feasibility of new automation technologies

Despite the promise of RPA, adoption rates are still fairly low. Why is that? Finance leaders hear terms such as “digital transformation,” “robotic process automation,” “intelligent automation,” and now “hyperautomation” and think of unattainable automation that requires big budgets and expensive consultants. They also might believe that outcomes are uncertain for such a large investment of time and money.

Solution 6: Compatibility with existing systems

RPA as a service runs with existing systems and interacts with the applications the same way that humans do, except it uses an application programing interface (API). Expensive and time-consuming system enhancements or upgrades are not needed.

Looking for more ways to optimize your accounting and finance processes? Our team can help you understand where automation might work best for your organization. 

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If you’re experiencing challenges with automating business processes, RPA as a service might be a good solution for your organization. But you don’t need specialized internal expertise or IT resources to get started. Our team can work with you to understand your specific needs and then design, build, run, and maintain the automation for your organization. 
James H. Hannan
Managing Director, Consulting