We recently released a bot proof of concept for Xero, a leading software tool for bookkeeping and accounting. Although QuickBooks is the undisputed leader for accounting software, Xero is in second place for global share of market coming in between 6 and 7% according to recent studies. At Valenta we have many customers who use Zero in the accounting space. We have completed automation work for these customers and wanted to share a Bot POC . This RPA POC video only lasts a couple of minutes, but it is a good representation of what automation can bring to the accounting space.
How can Bots and RPA Help with Accounting & Bookkeeping
The following table highlights several rules based and repetitive tasks where bots have helped accounting departments and clients of Valenta.
|Order entry and delivery||Invoice generation||Tax Preparation|
|Verify vendor & set up||Invoice matching||Preparing Management Reports|
|Vendor management||AR Aging||Preparing Financial Reports|
|Vendor queries||Matching payments to archived records||Dispute verification & resolution|
|Invoice receipt||Reconciliations||General ledger and subledger reconciliations|
|Invoice data extraction||Sales order entry||Bank reconciliations|
|Invoice classification||Customer data set up||Inter-Company reconciliations|
|Receipt matching||Customer data management||Manual journal entries|
|Vendor statement reconciliation||Billing & invoicing||Reclassification of journal entries|
|Accounts payable accrual journal entry||Collection activities||Fixed asset accounting|
|Expense compliance audit||Chargeback management||Inter-company settlements|
|Payment processing||Credit Risk Management||Financial close activities|
What Did We Automate in Our POC?
RPA and bots use software tools just like humans do. They read information by screen scraping. They copy and paste information and move a mouse around just like a person would. In our Xero bot proof of concept, the bot first logs into Zero with stored credentials using an encrypted channel. We typically use Last Pass for storing passwords in this stage. The bot then navigates to the client screen. From the client screen, invoices are matched with bank reports. The bot categorizes transactions and applies matching criteria which are preset at the time of configuration. The bot starts with direct matching and searches for criteria such as vendor name, amount, and date. If there is no exact matching, the bot will reconcile based on configuration rules that are preset up. If the bot cannot find matches, it will create transactions based on criteria. In this POC, 80% of the transactions are matched. The remaining transactions are flagged with exceptions and the reasons for the exceptions are highlighted. These reasons and exceptions provided help the bookkeeper to reconcile the accounts. Finally, a report is generated at the end of the sequence. All of this is done with much higher efficiency than it would be if it was done purely by a human.
RPA Deeper Dive
Bots are driven by RPA which stands for Robotic Process Automation. Bots in a customer facing process might also use Conversational AI for speech or text recognition. Let us take a moment to examine RPA. When we speak of robotic, we are referring to software capable of being configured to do complex tasks and acting like a human. The software instance will read a computer screen by screen scraping it. It will also be able to copy, and paste information, plus move, and click a mouse, just like a human would. When we refer to process, we are thinking of a sequence of steps that are part of a meaningful work function or activity that a human would ordinarily be doing. Finally, when we speak of automation, we are speaking about processes and getting all of this done automatically, and without human intervention or oversight. Repetitive rules based tasks, which are mundane, not changing often and that happen in high volume are the best candidates for RPA. Accounting processes often match these criteria, and it is an excellent part of a business to attempt to automate to drive down costs and increase efficiencies.
At Valenta we work with all the leading RPA software providers and can select the best tool for any job. The software modules are off the shelf but require configurations for all the potential task permutations that might be present business to business. Valenta works exclusively with SMB clients who have not always had access to consultants, developers, and managed service providers to roll out the latest transformational technologies. Valenta also provides additional consulting and services besides those focused on bots, automation, RPA, Conversational AI, and other forms of digital transformation. We can provide consulting for any kind of business process optimization and can work on other types of business software projects including ERP and CRM. We also provide a wide variety of staff augmentation. We provide staff around digital transformation and business software administration plus many traditional back office roles. Some of those roles include, accounting, bookkeeping, billing staff, digital marketing, paralegal, medical assistants, and a lot more. If you would like to discuss RPA and determine if it is a fit for your business, we are here for you. If you would like to discuss other types of project or staff augmentation, we can also assist.
Want to Learn More?
Utilizing RPA and automation provide significant opportunities to reduce costs to a business and increase the productivity of their workers. Routine lower value work that was formerly done by employees can be replaced with higher value, more cognitive, and more revenue focused work. Accounting especially involves a significant amount of rules based and repetitive tasks. RPA and bots boost productivity and can help any business leveraging them to achieve more, without having to expand their workforce. RPA for small business especially can be a game changer and digitally transform workflows. Please Contact Us to schedule a free consultation