From much-hyped Smart Home devices to virtual assistants such as Siri, we have entered a period where robotics continues to expand across our everyday lives, automating everyday low-value, menial tasks and activities. The concept of robotic process automation (RPA) becomes even more interesting as we consider it in the context of the finance function, specifically the Record to Report (R2R) process. Research from McKinsey & Company recently states, “About 20% of the tasks of a typical finance unit’s Record to Report (R2R) process are fully automatable (requiring no human intervention) and nearly 50% are mostly so (with technology undertaking most the work).” So, what is RPA, how does it affect the financial close process and how are other companies currently utilizing RPA to transform their financial close?
Simply put, basic RPA automates menial and repetitive manual tasks, freeing finance staff to focus on becoming strategic accountants that help drive the business forward. However, although a basic RPA approach can increase the efficiencies of your process, it does not ensure the effectiveness of your process. There are many companies in the market defining RPA as automating for simplicity and expediency. In our experience, taking a flawed process and making it run faster leads to even greater problems for your organization than before deploying RPA. What is needed to drive strategic change is an approach that not only increases efficiencies, but also enforces compliance and control to ensure the integrity of the period end numbers.
Risk Intelligent Robotic Process Automation
Trintech, a leading global provider of financial software solutions, empowers organizations to increase both the efficiency and effectiveness of their financial close and reconciliation processes through Risk Intelligent RPA (RI RPA). Trintech has defined RI RPA as using RPA within a defined risk-based, risk-intelligent framework that automatically enforces business rules. RI RPA looks to optimize the process, so that users can go beyond balancing the workload and eliminating manual work, to analyzing the data and applying creative intelligence to tasks such as problem solving and evolving the business. This not only delivers improved value to the business, but is also the type of high value work most likely to attract and retain high quality people. “Through full optimization and agile processes, your employees can focus their time and effort on identifying risk areas and bottlenecks, and communicating potential issues early and often, increasing their overall job satisfaction and improving the overall financial close process,” adds Teresa Mackintosh, CEO at Trintech.
For example, in terms of reconciliations, a key function in the financial close process, we tend to spend most of our time simply gathering data before we can even begin to think about reconciling it. Once the data is finally in the right format, most of our time is then spent manually going through the matching process, rather than spending that time focused on the areas that are most critical to us. RI RPA ensures we spend the majority of our time in the world of exceptions. Our priority is to focus on identifying core issues, as to the reasons for the exceptions, and identifying potential initiatives to improve the process so these exceptions decrease over time. By inputting it through an RI RPA workflow, you can also push the exceptions through discovery, research and resolution, bringing it back to a single view where all financial statements are being reconciled. This leads to a focus on what is critical to the business, rather than just simply providing data.
Furthermore, with RI RPA, an effective controls framework underpins the whole financial close process and, by unifying all key control components together, it enables a clear audit trail for compliance initiatives. To drive further efficiencies, RI RPA can be utilized not only to lower costs and reduce errors, but also to improve compliance by inspecting, automating and triggering remediation. This provides companies with a way to achieve better financial governance overall.
“RI RPA is the future of finance, and it is critical that the software vendor you are partnering with has a clear roadmap of RI RPA functionality and capabilities in its solutions to ensure you stay ahead of the curve,” affirms Mackintosh.
Leading the Competition
Trintech’s commitment to bringing innovative solutions to the Office of Finance ensures the flexibility and scalability required to support organizations of any size looking to transform their financial processes. Over 3,100 customers – including the majority of the Fortune 100 – have chosen to partner with Trintech to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their Finance and Accounting (F&A) organizations. Trintech’s portfolio of financial solutions automates functions including:
Close Management – Manages the entire Record to Report cycle end-to-end, from local to group financial close, including all the tasks, dependencies and issues
Journal Entry – Accelerates the Record to Report cycle by automating the journal entry management process including creation, validation, approval and posting
Certification – Ensures the integrity of financial statements, via automated enterprise account reconciliation, balance sheet certification and variance analysis
Compliance – Exercises quality assurance through comprehensive support for all corporate and regulatory compliance requirements
Intercompany Reconciliation – Automates intercompany transactions and balances to ensure data integrity across multiple ERPs, entities and through mergers/acquisition
Advanced Matching – Performs transaction matching, intercompany and exception management for complex and/or high-volume reconciliations
Account Analysis – Allows the download, analysis and verification of bank fee data in minutes
Unclaimed Property Compliance System – Automates the collection, tracking, management and reporting of more than 100 types of unclaimed property
Financial and Disclosure Reporting – Allows full control and stronger visibility into your financial and disclosure reporting for both external audiences, such as the SEC, and internal audiences, such as your board of directors and executive team members
By moving from a mostly manual process to advance automation with Risk Intelligent RPA, you can focus your time on more strategic objectives, such as proactive strategic financial engagement across the organization, preparing for an IPO, restructuring, evaluating an acquisition or merger, or any other significant business activities. Whether you have automated none, some, or all of your processes, it is key to invest in a financial automation solution that is not only going to improve aspects of what you have today, but will also provide your organization with a platform that can support end-to-end process excellence in the future.
Trintech has defined RI RPA as using RPA within a defined risk-based, risk-intelligent framework that automatically enforces business rules
Trintech empowers organizations to increase both the efficiency and effectiveness of their financial close and reconciliation processes through Risk Intelligent RPA (RI RPA)
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