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Humans vs Robots


When I started to think about the content for this webinar series, I related to my experiences. There was a time when my university friend came to visit me for lunch in London, in my office canteen, back in 2016. He was a trader for a Swiss bank and I supported finance change in the bank I worked at. Here’s me rushed off my feet, only sneaking in 30 minutes for lunch to meet him, and he came to London for a day trip to visit family, whilst his computer in Switzerland was doing the work for him. This made me think, I have to go back upstairs and work for a 10pm report submission deadline and he’s going shopping in Oxford Street for the day.


Image Source: Developer MediaImage Source: Developer Media


Fast forward 5 years to today…. Humans and robots work well together as opposed to what we feared once upon a time (Hollywood didn’t help!) that robots will take over what we do at work.


One of the main aims of the FP&A function is to provide insight into a company’s financial status – including its future performance. FP&A is known to build strong collaborations with the businesses they support, which is facilitated by spending the majority of their time learning from and working with the business.


As any FP&A person will tell you, that’s much easier said than done. Far too often, FP&A teams find themselves bogged down in manual, repetitive tasks such as data entry, moving files and folders, copying and pasting between and within applications, logging into and retrieving data from multiple systems, etc. So, one day FP&A walks into a bar and asks RPA: How can you help me?


FP&A meet RPA, RPA meet FP&A


Image Source: GartnerImage Source: Gartner


RPA is Robotic Process Automation and according to Gartner it is a set of advanced technologies that can be programmed to perform a series of tasks that previously required human intervention


Think of RPA as the glue that sits between FP&A’s manual and tedious tasks and other technologies that automate the wide range of repetitive, labour-intensive, and rule-based processes.


Image Source: SF MagazineImage Source: SF Magazine


RPA processes are a combination bots and these free up the time of the experienced finance professionals, allowing them to focus on the more meaningful analysis, become a storyteller to the data that is being produced compared to only number crunching.  RPA bots can perform IT approved tasks such as logging into a system, collecting data from approved data sources, or running a process.  This means that the finance professional can then investigate and resolve the outputs from the automated processes before approving distribution of the final report to his/her stakeholders.


Alteryx APA+RPA=Match Made in Heaven for FP&A


Image Source: AlteryxImage Source: Alteryx


The APA is Alteryx’s Analytic Process Automation and is unified analytics, data science and process automation in one platform.  APA solves the challenges of automating the inputs from your sources (everything from traditional data platforms, local files and applications to more modern and diverse sources such as process automation bots, data in the cloud and external business processing logic). APA also unifies all the analytic steps from data quality and preparation (where our platform offers data cleansing and blending capabilities to handle data from all these starting points), but ensures that the workforce can add their own domain expertise as they explore and profile this data. Users can deal with anomalies or standardising common fields while applying calculations or transformations in a consistent and repeatable way before delivering the outcomes to data/cloud based, BI, RPA or other platforms.


The combination of RPA with other technologies or platforms such as Alteryx’s APA, takes you to the realm of intelligent automation and hyperautomation and this can really give you high scalability, efficiency and performance when it comes to your finance processes. 

Image Source: GartnerImage Source: Gartner


In the upcoming webinar I will be showing you how the combination of APA+RPA can help your reconciliation processes. Here’s a simple example from Gartner:


Image Source: GartnerImage Source: Gartner


The potential benefits from implementing RPA are not limited to the FP&A function. There are many rule-based, repetitive processes across the entire finance organization that are prime candidates for the RPA application model. RPA can drive improved efficiency, accuracy, and a reduction in labour hours related to processes including bank reconciliations, order to cash, record to report, and accounts payable.


RPA offers a unique value proposition for the finance organization. RPA isn’t primarily about technology. It’s about letting the software do what it does best to free up the finance team from repetitive, rule-based tasks to focus on activities that lead to improved business performance.


Come join me to hear about ‘Creating Intelligent Automation: Finance Transformation with Alteryx APA + RPA’ on  6 October 2021 where I will show you how the Alteryx Analytic Process Automation Platform with RPA can help you achieve the above and more.