case study rpa finance function

Robotic Process Automation

Global technology firm

Within five weeks we automated a highly manual Finance process. Repetitive work that had previously taken the equivalent of five days can now be completed by the bot in around five minutes.

Background

Our client is a highly successful and ambitious global technology firm who pride themselves on innovation. They approached Proservartner as they were keen to introduce Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to support their growth – finding a smarter way to release capacity instead of increasing headcount as the business continues to expand.

Our main contact within the organisation could see the potential of RPA and its importance in terms of remaining competitive in the market, but wanted help to know where and how to start applying this new technology.

The Challenge

Working with the client we selected a Finance process: ‘order to cash’, as the first area to apply the technology. This involved highly manual tasks, downloading and manipulating data in Excel and physically matching hundreds of bank statement entries to outstanding invoice and cheque amounts across different systems. These parts of the process were very time consuming, cumulatively taking around five days of man hours during the already busy month-end period for the Finance team. The manual and detailed nature of the task also meant it was open to error.

Politically, proving the value of RPA and how it could work for the organisation was critical in terms of unifying support across the group for what would be a significant strategic shift.

What we delivered

Pilot implementation approach to gain buy-in

  • Recommended a pilot as the best way to prove the value of RPA and build support for further investment.

  • Helped to select the area for automation that would quickly deliver results as well as provide valuable learning.

Supplier selection

  • Used our knowledge of the RPA market to manage the supplier selection process –taking a pragmatic approach to quickly narrow down options.

  • Appointed a supplier with specialism in back-end processes and with the size and experience to scale up to the future needs of the organisation.

Management of rapid development and implementation

  • Carefully documented the current process and took the opportunity to make improvements based on our knowledge of best practice.

  • Worked with the developer to manage the design process and testing so that demands on the client’s time were kept to a minimum.

  • Created the technical environment needed for implementation including cloud-based access and ‘bot’ user accounts for the relevant systems.

The results

Within a very short timeframe (just five weeks), we were able to select and on-board a supplier, improve and fully automate the process.  Repetitive work that had previously taken the equivalent of five days can now be completed by the ‘bot’ in around five minutes. We were also able to use our knowledge of best practice Finance processes to identify and correct steps that previously exposed the organisation to a risk of fraud.

Outside of the project scope, we have helped the client to produce a video demonstrating the ‘bot’ in action. As a result of proving the concept of RPA with the first project, ten more bots were commissioned. The first automated process, initially piloted in Europe, is now being rolled out to the firm’s other offices in Dubai and South Africa.

"We see our role as filling that education gap, and making sure that organisations really understand what they are getting into and how they should use robotic process automation to really drive a competitive advantage for their business."

Rakesh sangani proservartner

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