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Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for the Month-End Close

Introduction

The impact of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools on Shared Services is rapidly increasing across many labor-intensive work processes where repetitive steps are required to access multiple systems to collect information by following defined and repeatable work steps to process transactions.  When it comes to RPA solutions, it is pretty clear that one size doesn’t fit all. Different solutions have different capabilities depending on the nature of the work processes; a fact that is very evident when you consider the RPA solutions most often used to help companies with their financial close process.

With many different designs and supporting software solutions available, even if you have already implemented, there can be significant benefit to knowing how leading peers tackled the challenge of selecting and implementing Robotic Process Automation tools to help with their financial close process.

iPollingTM Results Review

A recent Peeriosity poll created using the iPollingTM technology was created to explore the use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to assist with the financial close process.  The results indicate that Blackline’s RunBook Smart Close is used by 30% of responding companies, with SAP Closing Cockpit used by 6%. Two or more solutions are used by 6% of the companies, with many who use multiple options including Redwood RoboClose in combination with another solution.  An additional 6% use a different option, with the majority of companies, at 52%, who do not have RPA solutions in place to assist with the financial close process. 

When examining the level of satisfaction experience by the 48% of the companies who have implemented this type of technology, 7% indicated that they are “Very Satisfied”, with an additional 43% who indicated they are “Satisfied”.  14% said they are “Indifferent”, no one selected “Unsatisfied”, and 36% indicated that it is “Too early to tell”.  Here are the details:

Poll comments from Peeriosity members on this topic include:

  • We have looked at the Trintech and Oracle products, but have not found enough potential benefit to offset the cost.
  • At this point, we are only using SAP closing cockpit more as a checklist of things to be done and signed off. We haven’t explored the full possible automation functions yet.
  • We are exploring dedicated RPA options, as well as utilizing RPA-like capabilities within our existing enterprise systems.
  • We have very recently made the decision to move into Blackline, but have not implemented yet.
  • We use the Redwood program to run month-end related SAP programs automatically on a fixed date and time. Blackline we use as a reconciliation tool, and it is effective. SAP Cockpit we have used as a month-end calendar where people can approve or update the status of an activity.
  • Runbook has been critical in helping us to automate closing processes. We continue to look for additional areas to utilize the technology.
  • We are in the process of rolling out Runbook Smartclose.
  • We use Blackline/Runbook Smart Close as a checklist for our closing activities.

Closing Summary

While transaction intensive processes in Shared Services are the most likely targets of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions, since the return is easier to demonstrate, RPA tools are making their way into less transaction-oriented processes including being deployed to assist with the financial close.  While most companies (at 52%) haven’t implemented, the 48% who have are primarily using a limited number of solutions.  As the market continues to develop, additional solutions are likely, with the range of options expected to grow significantly over the next 12 months.

What is the status of implementing an RPA solution to help with the financial close process at your company?  If you have implemented, what solution did you select, and how satisfied are you with the results?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?

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 “iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility to all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.



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