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If your accounting firm or department is like many others, you’ve probably noticed you are trying to do more with fewer human resources. A day at the office feels more like treading water with so much to do and so little time.
Your team may be stretched thin because of the COVID-driven labor shortage. Or maybe, like many organizations, you’re finding there aren’t enough qualified accountants to fill your open jobs.
Overworked and fighting fatigue to get through your daily tasks, you may find your future planning and forecasting falling by the wayside. You’ll have to kick that can down the road yet another day. Hopefully, you can get to that tomorrow, but for now, you have a mound of paperwork to get through and data that isn’t going to process itself. Or can it?
Hope in a bot
If that scenario sounds familiar to you, there is hope, and it comes in the form of automation through technology. You may already be familiar with robotic process automation (RPA) or "bots." These artificial intelligence programs can capture, decipher, and manipulate data, cutting down on human hours spent on the same tasks. Even better, lots of specialized software can sync with other specialized software, making data sharing effortless, so that an organization's financial puzzle pieces come together in a snap.
The great news is that the wonders of RPA are no longer just for giant conglomerates that can afford the hefty price tag. RPA is affordable and scalable for small accounting operations, too.
Don’t be afraid of AI
Popular literature and Hollywood films may have given words like “robot” and “AI” (artificial intelligence) negative connotations that lead us to imagine the worst about technology–it will replace people, turn against the human race, and take over the world! But the reality is far more promising and much less sinister.
There will always be a need for human intervention when robots take over … procedures, that is … not the world. Humans will always have to work in tandem with robots/RPA/AI for higher-cognitive jobs that cannot be programmed.
The perks of automating
The most successful accounting operations, our industry's "pacesetters," embrace new technology and use it to free up talent to work towards loftier goals. They are not necessarily using RPA to replace people; they are using it to replace menial tasks with more meaningful ones and, as a result, have prospered during an unpredictable labor shortage.
Saves time. No more repetitive duties or menial tasks.
Speeds up accounting processes. No more manual input. One click of a button could replace hours of combing through receipts or journal entries.
Improves accuracy. We are all prone to human error, bots, not nearly as much.
Yields happier customers. With more accurate and faster output, your clients or co-workers will be overjoyed with the elevated service you provide.
Saves money. Less time spent on minor tasks equals efficiency and savings.
Allows you to see your financial picture in real-time. Time-sensitive data can be analyzed instantly, which means you can make decisions quickly with the most up-to-date information.
Provides greater accessibility. Business can continue from anywhere, in any time zone, with secured internet access.
Allows you and your team to reach future-focused goals. Time saved from automation frees up you and your team to focus on mission-essential forecasting, strategizing, and accomplishing.
Prevents outsourcing. Faced with a tight labor market or financial difficulties, outsourcing basic needs to lower-cost job markets might seem like the best option. Automating those basic needs can help a firm keep its processes in-house.
Small missions, big magnitude
There is no job too small to be automated. The more routine tasks you can take off your plate, or that of your employees, the more you and your team can focus on priorities and goals that will take your company to the next level.
Switching to robotic process automation can seem daunting, but allowing technology to work for you in small ways initially and then increasing from there is a great way to get acclimated to technology.
Automation equals resiliency
In our post-COVID world, we know how much life can change at the drop of a hat. Companies that can roll with the punches, embrace the new and unfamiliar, and make it work in their favor will stand the test of time.
For additional learning on RPA , visit MyOSCPA.