A Realistic Take On Robots And Account Reconciliation

August 30, 2016 Rishi Grover

Sure, automation can help improve an often painful process, but it doesn’t have to be the most bleeding-edge form of automation imaginable.

There are some jobs for which having a robot would be a welcome replacement – like attending the less important meetings on your behalf, for example, or maybe taking out the garbage before you come home from work. Of all the potential uses of robotics, however, who would have thought a time-consuming area of the financial close would be one of them?

A recent article in American Banker took a wide-ranging look at how several large financial institutions in the United States have begun experimenting with tools and technology that would potentially do away with certain lower-level tasks. While that type of pilot projects were all over the map, this one stood out:

Doug Shulman, senior executive vice president and global head of client service delivery at BNY Mellon, sees his bank’s work with robotic process automation as “smart automation, using technology to automate a lot more of what we’re doing, with a goal of having a better client experience, simplifying and automating what we do, and making it a better place to work so our talent is working on the higher-value-added work, reducing risk and reducing costs.” The bank is using bots for things like account reconciliation.

It’s not hard to figure out why finance departments would want to throw robots at account reconciliation, given how manual and painful it can sometimes be. Of course, regulatory and audit control requirements mean understanding and certifying an account balance and its transactions, which is not something you can avoid.

The American Banker article acknowledges, however, that it may be a long while before robotics in areas like this become anything close to mainstream. In fact, one of those quoted suggested the idea is not to replace workers but allow them to focus on more decision-oriented activities. Account reconciliation is a means towards making decisions, but the potential to overlook any fraudulent, improper and excessively aged transactions may make some firms – not just banks – wary of handing over the reigns to a robot.

What’s important to remember here is that finance departments aren’t faced with a choice between robots and the status quo. Technologies that are vastly more mature by comparison, like cloud applications, can take this pain away today. At least, that was the advice from a thread on the question-and-answer site Quora that discussed cloud-based account reconciliation. An accounting analyst listed some of the benefits as follows:

  • Eradicates accounting errors
  • Secures business deposits
  • Simplifies the bill paying
  • Saves money

In other words, you don’t necessary have to use a robot to automate tasks, like account reconciliation, that may occasionally make you feel like one.

The post A Realistic Take On Robots And Account Reconciliation appeared first on Blog | Vena Voice | Vena Solutions.


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