RPA Accounting

What Is RPA Accounting?

Your business is doing RPA accounting and you didn’t know it. Welcome to the future, where the robots took our mundane process jobs. Humans aren’t filling roles that require repetitive tasks. Instead, robotic process automation (RPA) is working those long hours, especially in the accounting department.  

In this article: 

  • What is robotic process automation (RPA)?
  • What areas of the accounting department will be replaced by RPA?
  • What is RPA accounting?
  • What does an RPA accountant do?

What Is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Robotic process automation mimics human repetitive action via coding. At a high level, RPA includes robots, but generally, it refers to software that breaks these actions down with lines of 0’s and 1’s. Any repeating tasks are done more accurately, quickly, and for longer periods than what a human can offer.

What Is ERP?

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, and it is a software system that supports business functionality. These systems are built with layers of RPA to organize large sets of data into a central hub. An ERP can produce advanced reporting on the data it collects, as well as integrate with other systems to share data. 

RPA accountants working on an ERP

What Is RPA Accounting?

Accounting that utilizes robotic processing automation (RPA) and ERP systems to perform mundane tasks. The best and most widespread RPA accounting tool example is Excel spreadsheets. Excel programming can compute large sets of data infinitely at a rate that no human can. 

The accounting sector is being updated with far more exciting RPA tools than Excel though. The combination of robotic processing automation (RPA) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) goes to the next level by providing processing across multiple functions and channels, then connecting data into one cohesive financial picture.

So RPA accounting is when businesses, more specifically accountants, leverage these tools to free up time and arrive at more compelling insights for growth. Transactional data entry is solved with automation to improve accounting. 

Check out these pros and cons of RPA accounting:

Pros

Cheaper to process data vs hiring a human

Faster, more convenient, and accessible data for analysis

Accountants can spend more time informing and improving the company

Accounting firms can take on more clients

Accountants can work remotely or hybridly reducing office expenses

Cloud-based systems that don’t require bulky filing systems

Keeps a firm competitive in the virtual marketplace

Cons

Not fully automated you still need human oversight

Requires new training or a technical skillset

Requires speed, data, and tech equipment

Needs bonafide cybersecurity and regulation systems

What Areas Of The Accounting Department Will Be Replaced By RPA?

None. The accounting department can never be fully replaced by RPA, human-to-human interactions are still widely favored. Although, there are areas of accounting that are transforming with robotic processing automation. 

Tax Preparation
Tax accounting has been utilizing RPA for a while now. Easy-to-use interfaces ask a question, then auto-fill forms and worksheets, checkboxes, and transfer line items; tax data entry is a thing of the past. Those polished forms rarely even see a real signature. RPA makes tax preparation touch-less, simple, and convenient for tax preparers.

The IRS is hip to RPA too. They use a regulated system called Robotic Processing Automation Intelligent Autom, RPA IA for short. It is used to access taxpayer files via identification information and validate documents submitted to the IRS. It is a computed effort to reduce processing time and errors, enhance compliance, and free up employees for other areas where “human intervention is indispensable.”

Revenue Audits
Watch out! Your external audit is being overlorded by a bot. There will be no talking your way out of penalties now.

For Example: You get audited by the IRS, they ask for your documents. RPA will run through your accounting data for the questionable period. In layman’s terms, it is programmed to redo your accounting based on IRS rules. It will scrutinize your transactions, formulate trial balances, and flag any discrepancies in revenue reporting.

Robotic process automation accounting can be used for internal audits as well. How does this help your team? It is quicker, easier, and leads to meticulous business reporting. It frees up your accountant’s time for understanding the intricacies of business and revising error-prone recording procedures.

Most Cited Benefits Of RPA From 450 Global Companies

  • 22% Increased productivity 
  • 16% Better product quality
  • 15% Strong competitive market position 
  • 12% Customer satisfaction 
  • 11% Greater speed to market
  • 3% Trimming costs

—2019 Protiviti Study

Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable
Endless data entry defines accounts payable and accounts receivable. RPA accounting taps into cloud-based software, to manage these ongoing tasks. Automated invoicing software handles sales for you; processing bills and receipts, no longer demanding a human hand. 

These systems allow you to personalize bill templates, send bills, set reminders for the customer, and collect payments. Through pictures or document uploads, an AI can transfer information with speed and precision.  

Financial Modeling
Financial modeling is the accounting department smushed up into a pretty kernel for the uninformed audience. It has a subjective analysis element that can never be replaced by robotic process automation. However, the input/output systems that build the models are certainly an avenue that can be enhanced by RPA. 

When the first step of aggregating data is taken care of, an accountant can apply ingenuity to questions like: 

What story is this data telling? 

How should I model this information?

How is the CEO/CFO going to interpret this? 

Rules-based RPA systems for financial modeling provide an efficient method to search for patterns in business activity. It all circles back to eliminating the tedious points of accounting and the long hours sifting through transactions. This increases information to model, leading to more informed decisions, and guiding better investments.

RPA accountant managing data

What Does An RPA Accountant Do?

An RPA accountant is essentially a controller. Though, they concentrate more on oversight of fintech use and data analysis, and less on the backend functionality of information systems. They are managing the software in a way to ensure accuracy in automated bookkeeping and accounting input. In addition to traditional accounting duties, RPA accountants spearhead these technological tasks:

  • Consulting on intuitive fintech solutions for bookkeeping and accounting, based on industry. 
  • Setting up ERP accounting systems and integrating RPA data feeds like banks, merchant accounts, payment gateways, etc.
  • Trained to use cloud-based accounting applications to boost business productivity. 
  • Auditing RPA and regulating processes to maintain compliance with governing bodies.

Robotic Processing Automation Is The Future Of Fintech

To keep competitive in the ever-changing landscape. A business or an accounting firm needs to adopt methods of RPA accounting. But it is important that software tools are handled with finesse, integrating them into a business that is not ready or not equipped to manage the tech will not show results. Since robotic process automation is constantly evolving, it is essential to have an RPA accountant that can advance with the technology and its regulatory rules.

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