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Robotic Process Automation

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Note from the editor

Many CFOs will tell you they want to adopt robotic process automation (RPA) — a rules-based system to replace manual finance and accounting processes — but when it comes time to budget money for it, they balk. 

The gains finance leaders expect to make from RPA adoption, including more efficient use of staff as they're freed up for higher-level analytical work, comes years into the future and only after you work through a highly disruptive process.

But RPA specialists say you can start seeing efficiencies right away. What's more, you can replace your manual processes with RPA in small increments. In fact, it’s best adopted in small increments because that allows you to work out problems as you go and get buy-in organization-wide as people see the benefits.

"There's a lingering perception among finance executives that in advance of bringing in RPA to work in my, say, accounts receivable processes, I need to standardize that globally and have everyone doing it the same way," says Dennis Gannon, vice president at business advisory firm Gartner. "But, actually, you don't need to."

RPA specialists say executives recognize the technology for its benefits but also widely misunderstand it. To help clear away some of that misunderstanding, CFO Dive has pulled together a selection of its RPA coverage from the past year into this Trendline. We hope you'll get a clear picture of the technology's benefits and what it takes to incorporate it into your processes — what's easy as well as what’s challenging — so you can make decisions regarding it that makes sense for your organization. 

Robert Freedman Editor

Misconceptions hold back CFOs from wider RPA adoption

Finance should lead RPA integration, but IT must be at the table

Many functions within finance lend themselves to automation, freeing up staff time for higher-value work.

How to use RPA to increase back-office efficiency

CFOs have been interested in RPA as it applies to automating aspects of the accounting function but the technology can be applied throughout the enterprise for potential operational efficiencies.

Study: RPA can save finance teams 25K working hours

Office workers' dislike of data entry aligns with CFO goals

RPA adoption key to attracting young finance talent

Working nights and on weekends to get books closed was typical for staff 20 years ago but in the age of automation, will young professionals keep embracing that?