Robotic process automation (RPA) is rapidly gaining adoption due to its potential to make routine work more efficient, thus saving companies money and streamlining operations. Leaders recognize the benefit of freeing up skilled resources to focus on tasks requiring intellectual discernment and critical thinking. We have discussed the benefits of RPA in various parts of the organization, including the best approach to getting started, here on The Protiviti View. But what if the opportunity to automate processes in finance is much closer than you think – let’s say, with the trusted team that is assisting your finance department already?
The Value of a Partner’s Point of View in Identifying Process Inefficiencies
It is common wisdom among RPA experts that, while automating processes is great, automating processes that are inefficient or redundant is more or less a wasted effort. As leaders in finance consider how best to initiate their RPA efforts, it’s helpful to evaluate whether a trusted partner firm that may already be on board to assist with routine or non-routine work may be able to play a key role in this thought process.
Partner resources who have been working side by side with line employees will know a company’s business processes as well as the employees. They are likely to be familiar with the organization’s business and culture and have established relationships with key people. Because a partner is usually brought on board to help fix inefficiencies or handle processes that take more time than they should, that partner would be conversant with more than the standard procedure. They’d know which finance processes are frequently repeated and which ones are redundant or less efficient, and they understand the non-standard variants, exceptions and workarounds. This operational intimacy, coupled with the fact that the partner is there to drive continuous improvement, can provide an informed perspective of what processes and tasks can be standardized, improved and streamlined to eliminate wasteful steps – in short, how processes can be perfected before they are automated.
Unexpected Synergies – Getting RPA Implementation Support From Your Managed Services Partner
When the partner on board is someone with multiple areas of expertise or access to such, like Protiviti, that firm may very well be in a position to deliver the utmost value in lateral projects, including automation. Because managed services firms integrate a consulting mindset even as they deliver on operational tasks, managed services partners with available RPA resources are uniquely qualified to deliver an RPA implementation that incorporates significant business process improvements. They can not only evaluate processes critically to identify opportunities for improvement and the root causes of inefficiencies, as we described above, but they can test the automations, validate them and fine-tune them over time. When these partners also have the experience to think strategically about the uses of RPA technology, and possess the skills and scale to manage RPA implementations, a finance function is poised to attain powerful synergies that make its investment in a partner firm even more effective and valuable.
Our Point of View
Finance leaders who have already engaged managed services partners to meet their workforce needs should evaluate their partners’ capacities to deliver on RPA implementation projects. If the capabilities are there, those leaders should seize the opportunity to work with the RPA team of the partner firm that is already acquainted with the processes it supports and already thinking about opportunities to improve them.