The final days of humans performing tedious and repetitive tasks in the world of finance are drawing near. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) offers companies within the financial sector and companies with a finance and/or payroll department the ability to automate many of the tasks associated with day-to-day operations. And more and more companies are making the leap to automation.According to a survey conducted by PwC in 2017, 11% of respondents are using RPA and 19% are on their way to RPA adoption. In addition, 98% of C-level executives believe developing an RPA program is important.
The benefits of RPA are many. There is a significant reduction in human error and inconsistencies, lower costs, improved customer experience, and improved regulatory compliance and reporting. RPA also removes the need to take up employees’ valuable time with repetitive tasks, freeing them up to engage in initiatives that are more productive and beneficial to the company. However, as with any technological advancement, RPA does not come without its challenges.
Barriers to RPA Implementation
As technological changes sweep through the financial industry, it takes time for companies to incorporate these changes and adjust to them. Shifting from manual processes to digital automation can be particularly jarring and can raise a number of issues within a company. What follows are the most significant barriers faced by the financial sector when it comes to implementing RPA.
Resistance from Employees
Whenever a new technology is introduced, particularly one that takes over tasks once completed by humans, it is common for employees to be concerned. They might worry that their responsibilities will shift, or worse, that their skills will no longer be needed, and they will lose their job.
The solution is to ensure there is constant communication with employees throughout the entire RPA transition. This communication should include what is expected from them during the transition and what they can expect their role to be once the implementation of RPA is complete. If they know they will keep their job, they will more fully support the transition to automation.
Reluctance to Fully Adopt
Even as employees are brought on board with the implementation of RPA, there can be a lot of hesitancy when it comes to full adoption of the technology. While RPA is implemented to take over repetitive and tedious tasks, making better use of human time, it is common for CAO’s and corporate controllers to feel the need to maintain some human interaction with the system.
The need for this constant human presence subtracts from the significant savings of time and money that RPA can provide a company and holds them back from enjoying the full benefits of the automation. One way to avoid this is to run the automation in tandem with the traditional manual operations for a period of time to assess the performance of each in relation to each other. This will help everyone become more comfortable with the fully automated approach.
Poor Process Selection
In order to be a good candidate for RPA, a process must be well-defined and repeatable without the need for human intervention. Ideal processes include tasks like data collection, data migration, and copy-and-paste tasks. However, it is common for companies that want to implement RPA to select processes that aren’t good candidates for automation.
Tasks that require human involvement, such as customer interaction, are a prime example. With this in mind, it is critical for a company to thoroughly review all processes being considered for automation to ensure they are standard, repetitive, and can be done without the need for human intervention.
Ultimately, the implementation of RPA for financial tasks relies on thorough planning from the very beginning. This makes it possible to educate employees, retrain where necessary, and make sure everyone is on-board. It also makes it possible to ensure the right processes are chosen as candidates for RPA. When this planning is done adequately, it makes the transition to RPA smoother for everyone involved.
Tangentia with more than 16 years of expertise in global project implementation and change management, is in an unique position to deliver seamless RPA projects through its Agile methodology. Contact us today to start your automation journey.
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RPA has been embraced by many sectors, such as medicine, hospitality, retail, & manufacturing. Now, the financial sector is gearing up for a shift in financial management that will see companies digitize and streamline financial processes. Read our latest blog on how financial companies and internal finance teams are looking to RPA to become more efficient in day to day operations.