August 29, 2022

What is RPA in Accounting?

Accounting deals with multiple use cases that are time consuming and require cost. The remedy to it is automation. With RPA in accounting a lot of this workload can be reduced and optimized to achieve the goal of highest efficiency and effective. Read the article to learn more about the topic.

Accounting is a collateral process to any organization. Bookkeeping, maintaining ledgers, checking finances, etc. are all important functions imperative to any company. Although, the work of accounting and the process can be mundane, repetitive, and strenuous. It is because the financial data of any organization is increasing day by day leading to more manual workload causing errors due to cognitive distress. This is why organizations are shifting their processes to automation using RPA. 

With this article, we are trying to provide a basic insight into what rpa in accounting means?, what are the benefits?, limitations, and other associated factors.

To learn more…read ahead.

What is RPA and How it is being used in Accounting?

RPA or Robotic process automation is an automation tool that is utilized for automating manual work. The idea behind the concept is to replicate a set of actions that goes in a workflow and automating them. Using RPA, these workflows are automated using recorded steps while covering a use case.

In simple terms, it can be said that RPA is a software robot that performs functions specified to it. Some of the basic functions RPA bots can perform are logging into folders and drive, move & copy files, inserting data, etc. 

Currently, we also have advanced RPA bots that can perform cognitive tasks such as interpreting text, make conversations, create responses on chat, etc. Depending upon the usability, these are either low-code or no-code.

Note: Low-code RPA are applied where there is a requirement for customizations at UI level, API integration, etc. whereas no-code often gives the comfort of drag-n-drop.

Role of RPA in Accounting

RPA is a great tool that can be used to automate various use cases in accounting. These are:

1. Accounts Payable

There are multiple functions that an RPA bot can perform for accounts payable. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Entry of the purchase orders.
  • Invoice processing of vendors.
  • Audit for compliance of expenses.
  • Figuring out duplicate entries.
  • Setup and verification of the vendor.

There are many other functions an RPA can perform for AP departments. These RPA bots are capable of directing invoices to the authorized members for verification and validation. Also, they bear the capability to compare them and produce results.

2. Account Receivable

With RPA in accounts receivable, it is possible to send an email with invoice to the vendor without missing the deadline to eliminate situation related to cash flow. RPA bots can also input information giving organizations the capability to utilize their digital workforce. Aside to it, there are plenty of functions an RPA can perform which are:

  • Monitoring the credit of the customers
  • Extracting customer information from various sources.
  • Creating follow-ups, and reminders.
  • Generating invoices and its distribution.
  • Setting up of customer data and its management.

Just like accounts payable, there are plenty of other functions an RPA bot can perform.

3. Inventory Management

Managing the inventory is one of the most important use case any company can have. It requires constant monitoring of existing stocks, managing lead times, and reduce storage cost. With an RPA, each of these managed well and automated. Some of the functions an RPA can perform in the department are:

  • Generating notifications for low inventory stock.
  • Ordering products automatically once the inventory is low.
  • Predicting the optimal levels of inventory.
  • Complete monitor of the inventory.
  • Tracking the shipments.

4. Reporting

Having a decent grasp on the company’s financial reporting is a much bigger use case. Although, it requires daily manual tussle tracking profit, loss, credits, debits, etc. With RPA, these daily tasks can be automated easily providing accurate data without evening lifting a finger. Below are some of the functions an RPA can perform for financial reporting:

  • Generating income statements.
  • Analysis of variance in the figures.
  • Handling trial balance and balance sheets.
  • Closing financial processes.

5.Forecasting and Planning of Finances

With RPA having access to the historical financial data, loading balances, variance accumulation, etc these software bots can come in handy for financial forecasting. With the forecasted figure, it is possible to create a financial strategy. 

Aside to all the use cases mentioned above, using RPA in accounting can also help with taxes, payroll, treasuring, travel expenses, etc. It can provide automation for various functions such as extracting and retrieving data, aggregating data into expenses, improving time sheets, etc.

Benefits of RPA in Accounting 

There are several benefits of using RPA in accounting. Some of the most common ones are mentioned below:

1. Higher Productivity

Organizations have to deal with daily mundane and repetitive tasks that don't require human critical thinking. With an RPA bots onboard, these tasks can be automated with ease with the capability to perform multiple functions such as read, extract, enter value, move value, fill forms etc. 

It can aid in removing multiple manual tasks which otherwise would require resources, effort, time, and cost. This thereby increases productivity within an organization.

2. Time Saving

It's no mystery that machines are faster in terms of completing operations in comparison to humans. The best example of that would be a calculator. With RPA onboard, not only would the organization save on resources but on time as well.

3. Higher Accuracy

A majority of organizations seek automation because of multiple reconciliations they might perform post processing. It is because of several errors that come along the way such as duplicate entry, incorrect spelling, incorrect data, etc. These don’t look much but with manual processing, the time spent is a lot more. With RPA, the accuracy of the data is already much higher plus there is a possibility of automatic reconciliation.

4. Better Compliance Standardization

Businesses and business processes are prone to change. Albeit that it is not recommended to have a solution that is static in nature. RPA is dynamic in nature and can be molded to fit the compliance requirements.

5. Enhanced Customer Service

Consolidating every benefit till now, the one thing that can be seen is faster processing with higher productivity and efficiency. It means each and every process in the organization will be realized faster. This will decrease the wait time within the organization, thereby helping the organization to provide enhanced customer service.

Examples of RPA Systems used in Accounting

Below are some of the well renowned RPA systems that are also being used in accounting. These are:

  • Automation Anywhere
  • UIPath
  • IBM Robotic Process Automation
  • akaBot
  • Microsoft Power Automate
  • Appian
  • Robocorp

Disadvantages of RPA in Accounting

Aside from having some great advantages of having an RPA in accounting, there are several disadvantages too. These are:

  • Implementation of RPA within an organization is time consuming.
  • RPAs are not as intuitive as human, therefore, the accuracy of the system would depend on the solution deployed.
  • RPA is not a right tool for every accounting use case. For example, purchase invoice.
  • Minor changes in the RPA systems can cause disruption.
  • If not code heavy, RPA systems require low-code for creating custom workflows.

Why is IDP better than RPA?

There’s not an iota of doubt that RPA can provide higher business productivity and value. Yet from the business perspective, IDP (Intelligent Document Processing) is far ahead of RPAs. It is primarily because of two reasons:

  • While RPAs can provide a substantial automation solution, the applications are narrow post-deployment. Also, these applications can’t be enhanced without coding. Therefore, it becomes important to understand that RPAs don't work well with unstructured data.
  • While RPAs can lead to serious load reduction in terms of workload, its capabilities work well with smaller tasks. However, the real optimization and savings lies in business process automation.

Alternate Solution for RPA for Accounting - VisionERA

The alternate solution for RPA in accounting is naturally an IDP platform. With the VisionERA IDP platform, accounting departments can create their own custom workflow with a simple selection method. It doesn’t require any coding and the process is automated end to end.

VisionERA processes documents performing various functions such as data extraction, validation, applying triangulation logic, and much more. Aside from it, the platform can be used to feed the data directly into the central repository. It is a complete solution and doesn’t bear the limitations of RPA. The workflows for any use case be it any industry can be easily established. Adding to it, VisionERA can easily handle unstructured documents without breaking a sweat.


RPA in accounting is a groundbreaking technology for its niche helping in process automation from a couple of years in many industries. Though it comes with its own limitations it doesn’t mean that it has the capacity to deliver what it promises. In fact, a collaboration of IDP and RPA can bring in complete process automation from start to end. Yet, it is important for you to firmly understand what are needs and what are your requirements.

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