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5 Ways RPA Can Make Life Easier for Your CFO

5 Ways RPA Can Make Life Easier for Your CFOWithout question, the Chief Financial Officer role is one of many critical responsibilities. On any given day, the CFO is tasked with everything from holding budget meetings to evaluating investment risk to financial planning and, of course, managing staff. What’s more, everything they do will center around a host of strategic business goals, including growth and cost management. Above all else, CFOs must be agile and capable of reacting quickly to the changing world around them. Technology – namely robotic process automation – is now paving the way for making the lives of these professionals a little bit easier.

Quick and Efficient Budget Approval

Budget issues are a necessary evil for any CFO, complete with endless proposals, forecasts and scenarios. Gaining executive buy-in and approval can sometimes feel like a never-ending uphill battle. One significant way that robotic process automation can benefit a busy CFO is by providing quick, straightforward and quantifiable ROI. Faster approval means more timely implementation and widespread business process improvement across the entire enterprise.

Dealing with Mergers and Acquisitions

Taking on the additional workload that comes along with facilitating mergers and acquisitions – on top of the present enterprise operations, and while remaining on budget – is often listed as one of the most difficult tasks finance executives must deal with. Adopting new policies, incorporating existing systems and modifying procedures across the board is equally challenging. Robotic process automation is the ideal tool for these situations because it offers end-to-end automation with seamless integration for a more uniform infrastructure and with little to no disruption in current operations.

Error-Free Revenue Growth

Many accounting functions still depend heavily on manual labor, which means that they’re also prone to a good deal of human error. Add to this the increased reliance on outsourced labor and the language and cultural differences that come along with it, and you’ve got a recipe for potential disaster. Keeping up with operations and putting out fires is a huge time waste – time that could be better spent focusing on growth and increased revenue streams. RPA provides an army of software robots available 24/7 to produce fast, efficient and error-free work.

Compliance Adherence

Government regulations as they apply to corporate finance are changing and evolving at an almost mind boggling rate. This becomes even more of a challenge for firms that operate in multiple states or countries, as many of these laws and regulations vary based on location. Part of the CFOs role is to ensure ongoing compliance with any and all governance, which requires a great deal of knowledge and constant updating of information. Using RPA, those in charge can be confident that processes are carried out in accordance with policy, thereby relieving some of the burden.

Talent Management

Despite what you may have heard, robots are not going to replace human workers – at least not for the foreseeable future. This means that the CFOs of today and tomorrow will still be tasked with overseeing employees to ensure optimum efficiency and productivity at the lowest operational costs possible for the organization. Once the repetitive, rules-based manual tasks are shifted to RPA, the human workers can focus on more important mission-critical projects. And because RPA produces fast, error-free work, costs will be optimized as well, leading to an even more favorable bottom line.

When it comes to the Finance and Accounting (F&A) realm, technology has always been an essential driver of success. For this reason, it’s not surprising that many CFOs are now turning to robotic process automation as a tool to make their organizations run more efficiently (and subsequently make their lives a little bit easier).

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4 Obstacles to Robotic Process Automation in Financial Services

4 Obstacles to Robotic Process Automation in Financial ServicesWhile almost any business can benefit from robotic process automation, there are certain industries that are particularly ripe with opportunity. One such field is that of financial services. With such a high volume of daily transactions and mountains of require documentation, being able to leverage the power of automation to streamline operations and maximize efficiency while also cutting costs is the key to maintaining competitive advantage. Yet, there are still a great number of institutions that have yet to jump on the RPA bandwagon, and one or more of the following obstacles are what’s typically standing in the way.

It’s not a business priority.

In the IT realm, automation has long been regarded as a godsend and is widely used across most industries. Extending those technological capabilities and benefits beyond the IT department and into a broader business process tool hasn’t been quite so openly embraced. This is due in large part to a lack of knowledge and a failure to grasp the full spectrum of benefits that robotic process automation can present.

In reality, RPA has the potential to transform the financial services industry, dramatically enhancing how businesses are run and improving services levels both internally as well as at a customer level. It is flexible enough to fit with just about any business model and can scale up or down to meet the changing needs and demands at any given moment. Furthermore, the vast majority of routine daily tasks can be handled by machine, which makes for a much faster output that is free from the risk of human error.

Traditionally, financial institutions lack agility.

It’s somewhat paradoxical if you think about it, considering how frequently we hear of mergers and acquisitions in the financial sector, but in truth, banks and other institutions have traditionally lagged behind in terms of the ability to quickly adapt and respond to changing market forces. Furthermore, the increasing and evolving demands from a new generation of customers are forcing financial companies further out of their comfort zones. The thought of adding one more change – adoption of a new technology – can seem nothing short of overwhelming.

The beauty of today’s robotic process automation tools is that they are specifically designed to be robust yet lightweight and flexible. They don’t require a significant amount of training and they can be managed by just about anyone, regardless of technical know-how. As a result, institutions can have a significant portion of their tasks and workflows automated in just days, a far cry from the cumbersome software changes of the past.

Existing applications and systems aren’t compatible.

Another reason many financial service firms have not yet begun using RPA is because of the misconception that their legacy systems won’t be able to handle the transition. While this may have been true of certain products that were introduced to the market in years past, today’s robotic process automation software tools have been specifically developed to be compatible and fully integratable with just about every system and application currently used in the industry today.

What’s more, the right RPA tool can actually make your entire operations more cohesive by bridging gaps, eliminating silos and creating a much more unified infrastructure.

Concern over compliance and governance issues.

Without question, the financial industry is one of the most heavily regulated fields in the world. Institutions know that strict compliance with government and other regulatory bodies is absolutely essential and that failure to do so – no matter how miniscule the incident – could bring about monumental consequences. This fear has caused many leaders in this sector to avoid adoption of extraneous technology, which is how RPA is often viewed.

The robotic process automation solutions of today are actually ideal for highly regulated fields such as finance and insurance because they offer the enhanced ability to view, track and report any changes to business processes. Automated tasks are managed and controlled using a centralized dashboard. Furthermore, all tasks, workflows and processes can be documented and tracked for auditing purposes. Lastly, the right RPA product will be built with the utmost security in mind.

With the growing volume of data looming and rising costs associated with managing a successful financial services firm, banks and other institutions have no other choice but to take advantage of the technology that’s available to them. Recognizing the main concerns that may be holding you back and understanding the reality behind these misconceptions can make adopting and implementing RPA a much smoother and positive transition for everyone.

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