RPA for accountants and administrators

For years, accountants, bookkeepers and administrators have run into the same issues when automating their processes. Existing software (at clients) is often outdated and the number of packages fragmented. RPA is an affordable, efficient solution.

proliferation of accounting software solutions

Recent years have only seen the addition of more accounting software solutions, from new providers, as well as new (online) versions from existing providers. This has not made the work of administrators and accountants any easier. In order to keep your customers' records, you need to know your way around more and more packages or invest even more in new links to get them into central reporting systems. Often these links are not available either. 

The problem with these links is that they are often expensive and inflexible. In addition, the lead time to implement them is long. Therefore, for a few administrations, it often does not pay to create this link, resulting in even more repetitive work to be done by hand. This leaves less time to spend on value-added activities for the customer.

New approach to automation

Much is already automated and many accounting packages also have their own capabilities that can automate pieces of processes within the package. However, there are often steps before or after that are not included. Think of sending findings or asking for feedback. Also, these automations often cannot use existing links. For a long time there was no good alternative, but that is now changing with the rise of RPA. 

"RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation, and has a very different approach to automation. Instead of linking databases to get data from systems, RPA mimics user behavior. This is quick to set up and applicable to almost any system," explains Sam van der Wagen, co-founder of VionA. "It is also quick to implement, and can also do much more than just retrieve and enter data. For example, you can also send E-mails to request information from customers/suppliers or send them updates."

The biggest benefits of working with RPA are that the processes are done quickly and flawlessly, whenever you want, and at roughly half the price a person does it for. It also benefits work happiness. Because it's the boring, repetitive tasks that lend themselves well to automation. This in turn leaves more time for the challenging tasks.

Case studies in accountancy/accounting

An example of a time-saving robot checks all managed administrations daily for important invoices. If they are above a certain threshold, the administrator responsible receives an e-mail with a direct link to the invoice. Previously, hundreds of administrations had to be checked regularly by hand. In 80% of these administrations no action was required. A waste of time! 

There are many other examples, such as a robot that creates reports with information from various sources and puts it ready in an online portal for customers, adds paychecks from a compensation package to the accounting system and checks the amounts, checks accounting records to see if the VAT return has been filed, etc. 

Implementing RPA

RPA is becoming more common among accounting and administrative firms. To begin, you can choose to purchase software yourself and hire someone with knowledge of it to build and maintain the robots. A new, interesting alternative is to hire automation as a service, with the robots running in the cloud (Cloud-RPA). In this case the entire process, from assessing which processes are suitable, drawing them up, building the robot and maintaining it, is offered as a service for a fixed monthly fee. This can be easily offset against the savings that it provides.