Despite the numerous gains in quality and efficiency it provides, automation is still not widely used by finance departments. Especially with SAP S4/HANA migrations, major process changes towards standardization and digitalization can be implemented to provide a solid basis for RPA.
"There is currently too much hype about digitalization in Finance, we need to sort our thoughts and impressions first." This statement was expressed by a CFO in our "Finance 2025" study. The statement was no surprise, it is rather reflecting the current status quo of digital transformation of the Finance function. Digital transformation is still progressing slowly.
Digitalization is still in the preparation phase
Until today, disruptive transformations are not visible. New technologies such as Big-Data Analysis and Business Process Management (BPM) platforms are only used in small scope applications, according to the findings of our study.
Most companies are still busy to implement the necessary pre-conditions for efficient digitalization, for example; improving Master Data Management and Data Quality, standardization towards a homogenous systems landscape and the decommission of old legacy systems.
Our study about digitalization in accounting has been conducted for the 4th time and allows us to draw first conclusions. Compared to 2018, when the study was run for the first time, the distribution of automation technologies has almost not changed.
Remarkable is the very low interest in Business Process Management (BPM) platforms for Finance process automation, even though Finance processes are perfectly suited for automation as they are repeatable and highly standardized.
RPA saves costs and time
About one-quarter of the surveyed companies use Robotic Process Automation (RPA) bots. These bots support the validation of Accounts Payable invoices or the reconciliation of bank statements against the Accounts Receivables. Furthermore, RPA solutions can also be used for data entries, regular Reporting, or even support e-mail communication.
The majority of the surveyed companies made very positive experience with RPA: ~90% of the companies were able to generate efficiencies through time savings, and the majority realized also quality improvements and cost savings.