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50% of finance organisations fail to embrace robotics

Sponsored content: The evolution of automation technology has the power to change the face of the finance organisation for the better, creating unique opportunities for today’s business leaders. Those that do not embrace the change risk becoming irrelevant.

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), CA ANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand) and KPMG recently explored the significant opportunities automation presents for the finance function in a new report Embracing robotic automation during the evolution of finance, and found many CFOs are still uncertain how implementing robotics solutions can be applied to benefit their finance functions.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – software easily programed by end users to perform high-volume, repeatable, rules-based tasks – is currently garnering significant market attention as a good automation choice for CFOs. Because the benefits go beyond cutting costs, it brings improved control and faster processing speed as well as better data quality.

Findings reveal the finance function has a way to go in terms of implementing RPA practices. Fifty percent of respondents say their companies had either not trialled or fully implemented robotics and 45 percent of those say they still need to understand exactly what robotics is before implementing it.

The business case for RPA

The benefits of RPA adoption are multifaceted, and typically underestimate the non-labour benefits that come with it.

  • Improved control
  • Improved process speed
  • Reduced processing cost
  • 24-7 operational capability
  • Data accuracy
  • Improved finance process flexibility to scale
  • Improved process performance visibility
  • Ease of deployment of customised process solutions

However the research indicates a significant percentage of companies remain hesitant to move forward with adoption. Some of the challenges of RPA implementation cited include:

  • Employee resistance to adoption
  • Understanding how to combine RPA with other technologies
  • Poor IT legacy systems making implementation difficult
  • Identification of the processes most suited to RPA
  • Risk of nonstandard and silo processes proliferating and weakening controls
  • Poor clarity on RPA process ownership and accountability
  • Poor IT security to govern implementation.

Roadmap of implementation

The research showed that running an initial ‘proof of concept’ is a critical step during which benefits to the business can be demonstrated and the approach to implementation can be refined.

Organisations who have implemented RPA successfully follow a number of key steps during implementation.

  1. Prioritise the finance areas for automation
  2. Develop a multifaceted roadmap for implementation
  3. Select the right providers and partners to support design and implementation
  4. Build an enterprise-wide delivery model and governance strategy to help oversee the program
  5. Establish a change management strategy to drive adoption throughout finance.

Discover the full report

This article brought to you by ACCA in partnership with CA ANZ and KPMG.

ACCA sponsored content: Embracing disruptive technology

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