To optimize your most difficult processes, bring on the bots

7/30/2021
To optimize your most difficult processes, bring on the bots

See three practical examples of how bots brought speed and simplicity to painful processes for Crowe clients.

You probably have at least one task or process within your organization that’s especially tedious, takes a lot of time, involves a lot of people, tends to produce clerical errors, or entails some combination of all these things. And maybe you’ve even had the following thought at some point: Wouldn’t it be great if this could all be accomplished with the push of a button?


With robotic process automation (RPA), it can be that simple. RPA involves writing software programs known as “bots” that use various applications – as an employee would – to perform logical, rules-based tasks and processes, but with much greater speed and accuracy – and without ever needing a day off. The benefits can include reduced costs, improved efficiency, redeployment of resources to higher-value tasks, and operational continuity.

A more accessible bot experience

In conversations with our clients, we’ve found the main perceived downside to bots is high cost of entry. Buying licenses from a vendor can be a significant capital investment, especially as vendors typically have a minimum purchasing requirement (usually five bots). And if you’re planning to automate and optimize only one or two processes in the short term, you won’t be able to use all of those bots immediately.

Fortunately, Crowe offers a way to essentially “rent” the bots you need, when you need them. The fees typically cover licenses as well as bot development and maintenance.1

Here are three ways we’ve recently helped clients with RPA as a service.

Supporting business growth

1. Supporting business growth

Challenge: A healthcare client was growing rapidly through acquisition of hospitals and health systems. The organization needed to conduct one-off data transfers from the acquired companies following each deal. It was spending a substantial amount of time on this activity with every acquisition and still encountering numerous errors, which in turn caused delays in patient care.

Solution: We built a bot to handle data transfer activities associated with these transactions, saving the organization hundreds of hours in staff time and substantially boosting accuracy.

2. Sorting out sales taxes

Challenge: A client wanted to address extreme inefficiency with processing sales taxes on transactions. The company had a dedicated employee reviewing every single purchase and recalculating – line by line – the amount of sales tax on each item. In addition to that, the tax director was spending up to half of his time every month on sales tax issues. All told, this amounted to approximately 250 hours of staff time per month.

Sorting out sales taxes

Solution: Our bot was designed to pull a file once a month with sales tax information on all transactions, which includes amount and jurisdiction. The bot can then identify and calculate all exceptions, including where sales tax was overpaid or underpaid. And it can go through all the line items – around 40,000 per month – in less than an hour. This bot also allowed the tax director to step back and examine where the company was overpaying, by how much, and which vendors were responsible. By doing this, he discovered the company was overpaying sales taxes by about $25,000 per month, which supplied him with the information he needed to approach vendors and discuss corrective measures in order to recover that money.

3. Streamlining customer service

Challenge: A client’s call center email account dedicated to handling customer service requests was receiving about 2,000 messages per day. This volume was causing staff to miss service-level agreements, which led to customer satisfaction issues and even loss of some customers. At the same time, the company had a goal of doubling its business growth rate. This had the potential to substantially increase the volume of customer service emails, but the client didn’t want to add more call center staff.

Streamlining customer service
Solution: Crowe built bots that allow the client to augment the capabilities of its call center team without adding staff. One bot conducts a triage of all incoming emails, discards the junk, and routs valid messages to team members based on the type of request. Another bot can input service tickets and quote approvals, and it can upload notes and invoices back into the customer portals, so employees don’t have to. All of this puts the call center in a better position to meet service-level agreements and accommodate a larger workload.
Crowe has helped a variety of clients successfully implement RPA as a service. Apart from our fee-based model, what makes our approach different is that we spend more time up front working with organizations to home in on where and how RPA can be most effectively applied. Additionally, our deep industry specialization helps us move quickly through all three stages of RPA: discovery, execution, and postmortem.

Other common bot uses:

  • User access review
  • Human resources onboarding
  • Cash reconciliation
  • Accounts payable automation
  • Financial planning and analysis
  • Tax form completion
Save time and money
See our range of process automation and optimization offerings.
1Subject to final engagement contract. Restrictions may apply.

Simplify. Speed up. Optimize.

Bots could help you enhance the slowest, most cumbersome processes in your organization. Get in touch with us to discuss what’s possible.
Ray-Cheung-225
Raymond Cheung
Partner
Jim-Hannan-225
James H. Hannan
Managing Director
Chris Denver
Chris Denver
Managing Director, Accounting Advisory