RPA’s role in automation in finance for midmarket financial services companies

As we continue to explore the emerging role of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in midmarket enterprises, we’ll highlight various industries that have become early champions of the digital labor technology. One such industry is financial services, where RPA continues to grow in popularity. Here we offer a brief rundown of why Robotic Process Automation is generating so much interest from financial services organizations of all sizes.


Who’s using RPA

A 2016 PwC survey found that two-thirds of financial services companies are leveraging RPA internally, while many others have turned to outsourcing vendors, many of which are themselves utilizing RPA. Automation in the finance sector is not new -  RPA has been delivering automation benefits here for more than a decade.

While this market sector may be dominated by financial giants, midmarket financial enterprises have plenty to gain by investing in the technology too. RPA is readily scalable to midmarket enterprises, where it delivers the same efficiencies and helps level the playing field between smaller firms and their larger competitors.


Finance automation

Financial services enterprises – think insurance companies or mortgage processors – are the poster companies for paper pushing. Their processes involve endless searching, matching, comparing and filing. Forms, applications, declarations, deeds and endorsements all must be reviewed for completeness, matched with other documents and files, have data harvested for entry elsewhere and ultimately filed for easy retrieval. Mistakes are costly, time-consuming and potentially dangerous. Enter the RPA bot.

Rules-based processes like those throughout the financial services operation are the sweet spot for RPA. If you can describe it as a set of detailed, logical steps, an RPA bot can do it, thereby saving the time of your human resources for the subjective, instinctive and interpersonal tasks that only we humans can do.

RPA is also an ideal tool for integrating legacy or inflexible industry-specific systems with newer applications, such as Cloud ERP. An RPA bot handles the data entry and reentry faster and more accurately than any human – and the RPA cycles can be set to run during non-business hours if desired, when server and network resource demands are minimal.


RPA does it better, faster and cheaper

Robotic Process Automation is so attractive to financial services firms for the same reasons it appeals to enterprises in many other industries – simply put, RPA does certain things better, faster and cheaper than human labor.

RPA reduces operational costs by replacing the human workforce in high-frequency, repeatable tasks, while also reducing the processing time of those tasks. Cost reduction estimates vary across studies and use cases, but 50-70% reductions are not unrealistic.

Accuracy is important to companies in every industry, but highly-regulated, high-risk and high-return industries like financial services arguably are more reliant on the accuracy of their processes than others. RPA technology is exceedingly accurate. Errors from mistyping or formatting are gone. Unlike humans, who may accidentally miss a step, vary the order of the steps or introduce other inconsistencies, an RPA robot performs tasks without bias or any variation. As long as you document your workflows clearly and precisely, RPA will support consistent application of the rules and adherence to control frameworks every single time.


Manage risk, improve compliance

RPA helps financial services firms manage risk and meet compliance mandates common to the industry. Auditors and financial stakeholders appreciate the prescribed, replicable and accurate nature of RPA, along with the audit trail the bots keep of their work. RPA’s efficiencies and cost savings over outsourcing may also enable companies to keep their data in house and under their direct control.

Automating your compliance processes creates a repeatable, managed set of tasks that standardize the processes, collect compliance data into a single system and identify any omissions or anomalies. Since you build in up-to-date, industry-specific requirements into your RPA platform, you can be confident that the requirements are being met during the handling of every single transaction. The consistent operation of RPA helps to further reduce risk by drastically removing error within your company’s systems. RPA systems could conceivably save companies hefty non-compliance fines and penalties.


Embrace change and complexity

Robotic Process Automation helps midsize financial organizations more easily accommodate change and embrace increasing complexity. As marketplace demands and the pressures of competition grow, your organization will need to continually change and evolve to remain in the mix. RPA is highly scalable, quickly deployable and rapidly adaptable to tackle ever more, and ever more complex workflows, without adding to your headcount.


Capitalize on the robots

RPA seems purpose built for the financial services sector, with its myriad of precision workflow processes, its subjectivity to compliance mandates and its need to mitigate risk. Properly planned and executed RPA solutions deliver finance automation for midmarket enterprises, saving time and money, helping to ensure compliance and reducing risk.

BTerrell works with midmarket financial industry enterprises to implement RPA solutions that fit your business operations, allow you to do more with fewer resources and result in a rapid return on investment. Contact me at brian.terrell@bterrell.com or on LinkedIn to start the conversation.


Read more on the subject of Robotic Process Automation

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An RPA Q&A, Five things to know about Robotics Process Automation

7 Ways Robotic Process Automation helps the Mid-market

A day in the life of a RPA midmarket enterprise bot

Can RPA replace outsourcing?

Scaling RPA to the mid-market enterprise

How does RPA affect IT and DevOps?