STEPPING INTO THE FUTURE: ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION IN ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE
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STEPPING INTO THE FUTURE: ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION IN ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE

INTRODUCTION

It seems like almost everyday we hear about a new technology that will be sweeping the device world. People run out clamoring to get their hands on these devices like the Alexa virtual assistant or the newest iPhone. It’s not just personal devices that make a big splash, though. Even in the business world these new technologies take the industry by storm, and rightfully so. Often times, these new technologies help to streamline activities and make the lives easier of everyone in the company.

Robotic Process Automation is no different. This is the new buzz about the business industry and it’s helping to automate and take the stress off of many different departments. The accounts receivable department, especially, can benefit from using robotic process automation. Typically, the accounts receivable department has more work than they possibly have people. This lack of staff can be counteracted by the use of automation. In this whitepaper, you’ll learn everything you need to know about robotic process automation including what it is, how it affects the accounts receivable department, the current state of robotic process automation in the AR department and how you can benefit from using it.

WHAT IS ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION?

Robotic process automation, or RPA, focuses on automating business processes, typically processes that are manual for employees. Using software, RPA captures your business data to trigger responses based on a rules based workflow. For example, robotic process automation can automatically send emails out as a response to another action taken. The email would be sent because one rule set up in the system triggers the action to occur. These rules can vary from organization to organization to complete different tasks because of different actions completed.

WHERE CAN ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION FIT IN WITH ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE?

The accounts receivable industry is known for having understaffed departments that are drowning in work. Often times this is because there is a lot of manual work that goes along with collections, like creating aging reports, sending out emails to customers to remind them to pay or stuffing envelopes with invoices and statements. With robotic process automation, those manual tasks often no longer need to be done. This doesn’t mean to say robotic process automation will replace the collector position, however. This means that collectors will be able to do more value added tasks for the company, like building relationships with the customers, reaching out to past due customers via phone calls and creating strategies and processes to make the department more efficient.

Below are some specific tasks that robotic process automation can complete for the accounts receivable department:

AUTOMATED EMAILS

As soon as an invoice is created, robotic process automation can trigger an email to be sent to the customer with the invoice attached. As soon as a customer goes 30 days past due, robotic process automation can trigger an email to be sent reminding the customer that the invoice is past due and requesting payment. Depending on the processes preferred by your department, rules can be created for any workflow. Without needing to create these emails yourself, some accounts receivable departments have saved an upwards of 600 hours.

INVOICE DISPUTE TRANSPARENCY

Invoice disputes often cost the most money to departments. The longer an invoice sits in dispute, the more likely it will not get paid in full or not get paid at all. That’s why it’s extremely important that invoice disputes get dealt with immediately by a credit manager or department manager, to ensure the best outcome of the situation. Robotic process automation can trigger workflows to automatically escalate an account and alert a credit manager or department manager as soon as an invoice goes into dispute. This ensures the most likelihood of all money being collected on.

CREDIT SCORE ALERTS

Keeping an eye on your customers credit score and credit history ensures that you stay ahead of a possible disaster. There are often indications when a customer is heading downhill and you can reduce your own liability if they were to go bankrupt. By using robotic process automation, you can get ahead of these disasters by setting up rules so the system will alert you if a customers credit score drops below a certain threshold.

THE STATE OF ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION IN ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE TODAY

In a recent poll conducted among accounts receivable departments, only 13 percent of companies have implemented robotic process automation. About 7 percent have at least received approval for robotic process automation, while the vast majority, 80 percent, have either not yet considered the option or are still evaluating the opportunity.

In that same poll, more people were interested in robotic process automation for the future. The majority of respondents, 41 percent, expect to put a significant emphasis on robotic process automation in the coming years and 28 percent expect to put moderate emphasis on it. About 31 percent of respondents have limited to no emphasis expected in the future.

Robotic process automation isn’t so new that it’s hard to come by in the accounts receivable department. Tools do exist to help automate this process.

THE BENEFITS OF ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION IN ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE

There is a lot that robotic process automation can take over and put on auto-pilot, but even beyond that, robotic process automation can reap many benefits for the accounts receivable department, which we have listed below:

  • Credit risk analysis and decision making
  • Refining data capture
  • Enhancing collection process workflows
  • Automation of electronic payment and cash application
  • Getting paid faster

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