Implementing Robotic Process Automation in AP Processes

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the newest development in business process automation and is taking the industry by storm – in fact, a study conducted by Boston Consulting Group estimated that by 2020, intelligent software will take over 25% of business processes currently being performed by people. RPA is another step in the process automation journey, following existing technology like P2P workflow solutions. However, because it is relatively new there are still questions about RPA and what it means for AP processing.

What is Robotic Process Automation?

Robotic Process Automation is a process automation tool that allows companies to automate repetitive, routine tasks with static business rules. Based on the specific, pre-defined business rules, the intelligent automation software is able to perform simple tasks more efficiently, accurately, faster and tirelessly than a person.

What are the benefits of deploying RPA for AP functions?

As with any automation tool, Robotic Process Automation can improve the flexibility and scalability of your process, standardize functions, reduce labor costs and human error, and allow for 24/7 operations. The RPA systems are best suited for error-prone functions in the invoice process. Some examples of Accounts Payable functions that can be transformed by intelligent automation are scanning invoice data, invoice and purchase order matching, vendor master data maintenance, and automated reporting and analytics. The benefits and capabilities of the RPA systems vary from organization to organization, but McKinsey reported that some RPA solutions can yield roughly 30% to 200% ROI because of the reduced labor costs and process standardization.

This ROI can be increased if your process is already automated using a solution such as Direct Commerce’s eInvoicing and workflow solutions because RPA systems function more efficiently and effectively when implemented following the strong groundwork established by other automation tools. In order to capture the benefits of implementing RPA and leverage the software to the fullest extent, your data must be streamlined through an effective workflow. Because RPA carries out defined business rules, you must understand your process and have clearly outlined business rules based on the visibility and understanding of your system gained from organized, efficient and digitized invoicing and workflow tools. P2P automation tools are the first step in your intelligent automation journey and without having these essential tools and process changes in place, RPA cannot be achieved as successfully or to the level your company is striving for.