The tried and true MS Excel spreadsheet isn’t adding up for closing the books. Using multiple spreadsheets across multiple teams to facilitate the financial close not only uses up valuable time when closing a quarter but can introduce many errors such as data transposition, overwriting and misplacement of information.

The team is diligent and committed, but human errors are inevitable. And the time it takes to go back and fix errors depletes productivity that’s better spent on expediting the close.

It’s time to work smarter, not harder and complement your workforce with Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Here are 5 key reasons for using RPA to speed your time to close:

  1. Robots don’t keep business hours.

They will work 24/7, working alongside your team or behind the scenes. You decide what tasks they automate (ideally the ones that generate the most errors and the most manually intensive). Robots can easily tackle all the copying and pasting data tasks quickly and accurately. In fact, you’ll cut processing times by 35-50%.

  1. Robots don’t need health insurance.

Or any benefits for that matter. At a fraction of the cost to onboard and train a new employee (who doesn’t really want to spend their time doing these tasks anyway) your robot workers allow you to save 25%-50% in costs.

  1. Robots perfect the process.

With 100% data accuracy, robots don’t make mistakes so there are no costly errors lurking around the corner.

  1. Robots are easy to build.

Instead of taking weeks and months to develop a solution, robots can be built in minutes using simple business rules without coding.

  1. Robots are scalable.

One of the best benefits that RPA brings to your organization is flexibility. Say for example, you start with 1-2 robots to automate the processing of data. You then learn your organization acquired another company or partner, so you need to scale up your team to meet the time to close. No problem, you can easily add more robots to accommodate the new requirements.

See Robots in Action: Let’s walk you through an example a software robot logging into SAP and updating SAP account data with Excel content.

Here is an Excel spreadsheet with target accounts to be reconciled. This sheet is loaded into the robot, which will read each line of data. On the left is the Robotic Process Automation Design Studio, a visual development environment for rapid robot building.  On the right, a virtual machine is running the SAP client to show the actual automation running within SAP.

In the Design Studio, the first desktop automation step is executed. As each step is executed, it’s highlighted green. That first automation step launches the SAP GAP application on the right, selecting a server and entering credentials to log into SAP.

In the Design Studio, the Kapow robot loads the spreadsheet and grabs the first account number on the list. The robot will easily loop through each record. Now the robot turns to SAP to find the right account. The robot launches the SAP General Ledger account “editing” screen and enters the account, company code, and fiscal year, then clicks the button to load the general ledger account data.

The robot extracts the period 1 debit, credit and balance data from the account and puts them back into the spreadsheet on the same line as the original entered account.

Meanwhile, as each step is executed in the Design Studio, it’s highlighted green and the robot moves to the next step.

The loop control is incremented to the next line in the spreadsheet, and the process is repeated with the next account.

In just a few minutes our robot has logged into an ERP application, found an account, grabbed data and reconciled that data against an external application.

The robot is both smart and self-directed, applying logic and process decisions based on the data it finds and looping through entire data sets automatically, without user intervention.

Move away from the manual and mundane spreadsheets and power your financial processes with RPA.

Watch it in action.

Interested in learning how RPA Improves Your SAP Investment? Stop by our booth at Sapphire Now/ASUG Annual Conference, June 5-7, Orlando Florida.

 

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