Question

Automate Accounting Processes

  • 7 October 2019
  • 3 replies
  • 212 views

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Business process automation is a hot topic for few years now.
Automate routine, high-volume tasks that are prone to human error and consume valuable staff resources will provide lot of benefits to companies, and in turn a good business opportunity for ERP vendors.

  • In the "Accounting" field what are the main areas that we can think of Automation?
> for. e.g. Supplier Invoicing Process - 3 way matching

Very much interested in knowing the possibilities of how we can automate Accounting processes.

3 replies

Userlevel 2
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Hi Kasun,

There are several ways of doing automation, but, we can mainly divide into two sides. One is the system inbuilt automation (different interpretation such as traditional automation or business process automation) and other one is the Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA is a very hot topic now and according to the latest Gartner report, RPA has become a fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market.

Common Automation Scenarios:
AP Automation (Including 3 way matching):
Ability to efficiently manage accounts payable (AP) is critical for any type of businesses for their working capital management. Therefore, there is a high tendency of moving to RPA based automation in order to streamline the invoice capturing, matching and approval process. Three way matching is quite popular use case under AP automation. But, this is a very challenging task. Because, in most of the times you get the unstructured or semi-structured data from your suppliers. For an example, you might not be able to convince all of your suppliers to send their invoices in structured format unless you have a supplier portal or electronic invoicing agreement. This was an impossible scenario to achieve in early life cycle of RPA tools. Traditional RPA only handles structured data such as spreadsheets or formatted electronic files.

With the evolution of AI and machine learning, current RPA tools are capable of covering cognitive aspects of the process. For an example, if we consider a major RPA vendor like AutomationAnywhere, their IQ bot can be trained to capture semi-structured PDF based invoices.
As per their explanation, IQ Bot uses a combination of computer vision, OCR, automatic document analysis, fuzzy logic and machine learning (ML) to extract data from PDF. Once the invoice info is extracted three or four way matching is not a big challenge for the tool.


Source: AutomationAnywhere

AR Automation:
In IFS Application, we have a strong inbuilt automation options (external payment parameters) to match invoices against the payments. But, when you deal with large volume of unstructured payments, there might be a need to go for an AI based cognitive BOT.

Best Approach: Combine Inbuilt Process Automation & RPA:

Although the adoption of RPA increases, we cannot forget the inbuilt process automation capabilities of an enterprise level system like IFS. When you have a possibility to automate a flow through an inbuilt process automation mechanism, there is no point to skip it and go for a RPA. But, there can be some processes where you want to combine the both capabilities.

Examples:
1.When you have the possibility of automating supplier invoice payment-authorization notification through an event action, there is no point to reinvent it again by deploying a RPA bot.
2. If your bank is willing to provide a web service or daily file for daily currency rates, there is no need to deploy a BOT to read the file or web service. You can easily use a scheduled job or call for the web service to get the rates. But, if your bank can only send it via a mail (as an attached file), it might be worth in to use your existing BOT to read the mail and direct the file to the dedicated folder. Then you can setup a scheduled job to pick the file and upload the rates.
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Hi @Kasun Ariyadasa  and @Eranda, I would be interested in hearing more about your ideas for automation opportunities. I am part of the Automation Planning group and I am always looking for input about potentially promising areas where to bring automation into the product. I will write you separately to see if we can chat.

 

Thanks,

Riccardo

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Hi @RiccardoBocci , I am a former IFS R&D member and now working for a partner.

If the current working model allows you to get inputs and collaboratively work with partner ecosystem, I am willing to share more information. Please feel free to contact me via my email e.maldeniya@e-analytics.com. I am happy to join even for a call or a meeting. 

Thank you!!

Best Regards

Eranda

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