Robotics Process Automation (RPA) can be used to automate repetitive, rule based business processes that steal employee time.
By using software (or robots) to capture and interpret data and then automate the actual process, it’s possible to save employee time while also reducing the possibility of human error and in time, saving money. It’s also easier to scale processes with RPA without the need to hire new people.
Here are three business processes that can automated with RPA:
Automate the scanning, matching and paying of invoices
The finance department is often a goldmine for processes that are suitable for automation - from accounts payable to expenses to accounts receivable.
Although there are varying levels of complexity and change in financial processes, they are often repetitive processes that follow a similar pattern each time the process is run.
Accounts payable is an interesting business process due to some of the challenges it faces, such as: outdated processes and systems, invoices being received via different channels and multiple locations and the time-consuming nature of the process.
An automated solution for accounts payable could include:
- Capturing supplier invoices electronically
- Delivering documents and data for review, approval, and coding
- Integrating with existing accounting and enterprise systems such as ERP/CRM, etc.
- Providing security for access controls as well as audit trails
By automating this process with RPA, stronger relationships can be built with key business partners as the time to payment is faster, there are less human errors and you aren’t slowed down by outdated software or systems.
Replace paper with e-forms from Job Application to Separation
Human Resources (HR) is another great place to start with process automation - with the vast amount of employee data available, the ability to find precise details quickly makes the lives of those working within the profession far easier.
HR also has a lot of paper processes that are usually time-sensitive and sometimes quite inefficient.
RPA can be used in HR by replacing paper processes with digital processes and e-forms. By first assessing the most inefficient processes, you can quickly identify which would be best to automate.
Processes such as time sheet management, absence record keeping and holiday authorisation can be automated, as can both requests for references and generation of such information.
Automating these processes saves the HR team time and money but also gives more visibility across all processes and can improve compliance with the use of audit trails.
Sort and distribute all inbound physical and electronic documents
Traditionally the mailroom might be considered a place full of manual processes and a lot of human labour from the capturing and sorting mail to the delivery to the right people.
It is a core back-office business process that can often be inefficient.
By applying robotic process automation to the mailroom and using a solution known as ‘digital mailroom’, it’s possible to automate the capture of all incoming mail, whether it arrives on paper, in an email, via fax, or from sources such as mobile devices. The mail is then digitalised, analysed and sorted and eventually distributed to the correct recipients.
By taking this approach, it’s possible to more easily control how the mail comes in, how it's sorted and how it's distributed and make less errors, reduce the man hours and give more time to work on higher-value tasks.
With paper mail and documents also being digitalised, it’s possible to reduce the physical document storage space as well.
These are just some of the business processes that can take advantage of robotic process automation (RPA) and are good places to start. If you can identify a business process as being repetitive, human error-prone, rule-based, digital, time critical or seasonal, there’s a good chance you can use RPA to automate the process.