Automating Accounting Tasks with RPA

Global communications company implemented robotic process automation to increase productive and efficiency

Project Overview

A global communications company implemented RPA to cut down on the manual work their accounting team was spending on sifting through data from multiple sources to create journal entries each month. The automation complied with Sarbanes-Oxley regulations and utilized existing enterprise software and technology.

Client Challenge

The client had a significant number of manual processes due to outdated technology and disparate systems. This delayed the financial close process as accountants spent excess time collecting data, reformatting this data, and creating manual monthly entries. This not only contributed to an inefficient month end, but the process was prone to errors and took valuable time away from reviewing and analyzing financial data.

Prior to implementing the automation:

  • The accounting department was spending a significant number of hours during their monthly financial close process on manual, repetitive tasks involving multiple systems
  • The existing swivel chair processes contributed to data quality concerns

Approach

RevGen sought to identify a simple, inexpensive solution to improve efficiency while saving costs. In addition, support from hesitant business users was needed as implementing Artificial Intelligence can sound like a scary proposition – collaboration was key. Using automation, or “bots”, was new to the accounting organization, and there was resistance to use it for critical financial processes.

The approach included:

  • Identifying potential areas to optimize, specifically around repeating journal entries determined to be inefficient
  • Stepping through several examples of how repeating journal entries were booked to capture all possible scenarios
  • Identifying critical users to the process, including auditors and approvers
  • Determining needed controls to ensure accuracy and completeness of any automations implemented, including all necessary variables for input and output

Solution

The solution was built using an existing organizational RPA software package, so that any developed automations could be easily supported by client resources. RevGen was able to develop a successful automation to open files, enrich data in those files, and create the journal entry in the client ERP system. The solution included a control flow and focused on low-code development. This unassisted RPA bot was implemented to run on a schedule without human intervention.

Results

The implementation of this RPA solution demonstrated the value of automation – reducing low value-add manual work to streamline a critical organizational financial process. Not only reducing a task that typically took a full business day down to a matter of minutes, the solution also contributed to:

  • Higher accuracy of journal entry data
  • Freeing up valuable accounting time to focus on higher value close activities
  • Establishing the necessary auditability for regulatory compliance

Success Stories

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