A new study says financial reporting is an area in which robotic process automation (RPA) is severely underused. According to Gartner, corporate accounting teams preparing financial reports could save 25,000 hours annually normally spent fixing errors by implementing RPA. Unfortunately, the Stamford, Conn. – based global consultancy found, of all the companies that have adopted RPA, less than a third (29 percent) have set up RPA robots to automate the financial reporting process.
“While 88 percent of corporate controllers expect to implement RPA by next year, we routinely encounter hesitancies when it comes to applying RPA to financial reporting processes,” said Dennis Gannon, research vice president in the Gartner Finance practice. “When viewed from a narrow ROI perspective, financial reporting appears to be a low priority compared with other business initiatives. The departments that have experimented with RPA in their reporting processes, however, report a series of additional benefits, from less staff time fixing mistakes and more time allocated to higher-value work. The result is typically higher employee engagement and less turnover.”
Gartner research found that “avoidable rework” (fixing errors) accounts for about 30 percent of a full-time accounting department employee’s time. This equates to savings of 25,000 hours per year at a cost of $878,000 for an organization with 40 full-time accounting staff.