CFO and finance specialists from all brands are continuously searching for ways to improve work efficiency, reduce costs, and have the right tools that enable them to make the right decisions. However, despite significant growth in the implementation of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) over the last few years, IA Intelligent Automation leaders still think that we have barely scratched the surface, and that iRPA (Intelligent Robotic Process Automation) can do much more.
What is Intelligent Robotic Process Automation iRPA?
We use robots in our everyday life to make it easier. They replace our roles in repetitive tasks, allowing us to focus on more important and complex activities. Knowledge gained from mass production lines is now applied in offices to perform manual, routine and repeated steps. Software robots can automate processes to increase work efficiency and reduce errors, which ultimately cuts costs for businesses. These robots not only boost revenue and business growth, but also increase client and employee satisfaction.
The next goal that RPA specialists foresee is to give robots the intelligence that is required to expand their capabilities. The creation of an intelligent robot combines Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and RPA in one integrated solution called Intelligent Robotics Process Automation. Put simply, RPA means ‘doing’, while AI and ML are related to ‘simulation thinking’ and ’data learning’. As a result, the intelligent robot is taught to think, analyze and draw conclusions from data before it starts doing things automatically. It can also continuously learn from data, which means it is able to act based on historical data.
For example, intelligent robots can automate companies’ Account Receivable process by assigning a received payment to a related invoice. How does this happen? An intelligent robot is created in the Design Studio, where it is set and adapted to a given process in the company by using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning methods. In the process of creating this intelligent robot, the widest possible range of information on customer payments to the company is used to maximize the robot’s proficiency. Trained and supported by Artificial Intelligence, this robot is able to locate and open emails with payment advice in the attachment. The robot reads the attachment and sends data to an Accounts Receivable intelligent application that automatically processes payment details received from the robot. Confirmation generated by the intelligent application is handed back to the robot, which then links it with the related invoice in the ERP system. The human accountant’s role is only to monitor whether the robot performed its job and data was correctly matched. It takes just a few seconds for this intelligent robot to assign a payment to an invoice: the whole process is quick, easy, and minimizes the risk of errors.
Thanks to the robot, the company not only makes its debt recovery process more efficient, but also frees up employees’ time to improve client relationships.
CFO strategic role in the Digital Transformation
With the progressive automation of routine tasks, traditional professions in financial departments are already being replaced by robots. For employees whose roles are being replaced, what does the future hold? The new Global CFO Research conducted by Accenture reports that CFOs will create more meaningful and impactful roles for finance professionals, such as leading digitalization transformations, to ensure their organizations pivot wisely in this radically different marketplace. At the same time, Accenture also found that many CFOs have yet to drive insight through data and talent to automate or spread out traditional finance functions and make room for new ways of achieving value. An enormous opportunity exists, then, for CFOs and aspiring CFOs. Future financial departments will need Finance Value Architects and Scenario Planners: Finance Value Architects will use digital finance tools to drive corporate value through finance functions, while Scenario Planners will work with business partners to identify process variants as a basis for AI scope. Another future finance occupation will be Social Behavioral Scientist: the scientists’ role will entail analyzing customer behaviors and contributing to the design of interaction maps between humans and machines.
All these future roles have one point in common: the ability to expand the scope of automated solutions that use Artificial Intelligence. It is, therefore, crucially important to develop professional growth in the field of Digital Transformation and – at the same time – implement innovative solutions that support this transformation.
More information on https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/consulting/cfo-research-overview
Business Transformation Advisor, Accenture Consulting CFO & Enterprise Value