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Robotic Process Automation Myths Debunked

Robotic Process Automation

Posted on April 18, 2018 by Liang McIntosh-Yee

In recent years, automation has reduced some of the work accounting teams do each day. Although accountants have long relied on technology to power the work they do, robotic process automation (RPA) reduces extra repetitive manual steps, helping them move payments and invoices through faster while also spending less time on mundane tasks. But all of this popularity has led to a few misconceptions about RPA.

Here are some of the most common robotic process automation myths debunked.

Robots Are Physical Beings

When experts began predicting robots would take over jobs, it was easy to imagine physical robots, shaped like the human body, sitting at desks or working in factories. Because of this vision, many people didn’t notice initially as software began taking over business processes. In fact, automation has been part of accounting for years. It has just continued to get more sophisticated over time. The term “robots” in RPA refers to software that resides on the systems professionals use to do their jobs. The robots automatically perform repetitive functions relieving the professional of those tasks.

Robots Will Replace People

Yes, automation has eliminated some of the need for accounting professionals to sit at a desk all day, signing documents, entering data and emailing files. But don’t expect to get a pink slip. Even in their most advanced form, robots can’t replace human abilities like judgment, emotion, and reasoning. For decades, though, technology has been shifting the types of skills professionals need. In addition to a demand for more technologists, fields like accounting are finding that workers spend their time manipulating data and turning the information into business decisions. This focus on higher-level tasks leads to greater overall job satisfaction and employee retention.

Automation is for Large Corporations

At one time, if a business wanted to automate, it meant hiring a software programmer or paying a large sum for a boxed solution. But cloud technology has broadened the options for businesses of all sizes, which means top tools are no longer limited to large corporations who can afford the expense and allocate the necessary technical resources. Even a startup can likely afford a monthly subscription for an RPA tool that meets its individual needs. For businesses that need customization, a cloud solution can be easily tweaked to follow the processes an accounting team uses.

RPA Is a Trend

By now, most people realize that technology is here to stay. However, old technologies are quickly replaced with more sophisticated ones over time. RPA may be seen as a passing fad by some, but it’s actually here to stay as another step in the evolution of technology. Like other types of automation, though, it will only grow more advanced, especially as machine learning gives software the ability to learn and adjust behaviors based on past outcomes. Within RPA are various trends that likely will be replaced over time, so it’s important to pay attention to those.

Automation has transformed the accounting industry, but professionals must learn to be able to distinguish truth from myths. Although technology will continue to influence all aspects of business operations, it will never replace the employees. It will simply reduce errors and increase efficiency while allowing professionals to focus on more analytical types of work. As a result, workers will be happier and clients will be satisfied as turnaround times and productivity only continue to improve.

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