RPA: the key to successful credit management

Jan 20, 2020

iController blog - automation

RPA: the key to successful credit management

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Robotic Process Automation – in short RPA – is a technology based on virtual software robots. In combination with artificial intelligence, RPA is often used as a successful tool for credit management.

What is RPA?

RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation. It was developed to automate monotonous tasks that do not require human intelligence. In order to do so, RPA uses virtual software robots (bots), often in combination with artificial intelligence (AI).

Just like people, RPA bots use the user interface of your software to capture data and to run computer applications. They interpret data, initiate actions and communicate with other systems. RPA can be considered as a virtual robot that can perform routine tasks 24/7 and makes fewer mistakes than people would do. This 24/7 aspect is crucial: the RPA bot can operate day and night, working in the background.

Difference between RPA and AI

RPA makes it possible for your computer to execute human actions. Artificial intelligence (AI), on the other hand, makes it possible to imitate human thinking: it enables your computer to solve problems that would normally require human intelligence. Examples include recognizing certain patterns, learning, improving previously processed data and making predictions for the future.

The difference between RPA and AI is therefore easy to recognize. While RPA is associated with doing, AI is usually associated with thinking and learning. Moreover, RPA is process-driven, whereas AI is data-driven.

Companies often combine both RPA and AI to create intelligent automation, with maximum efficiency as a result. For many companies, RPA is also a first step towards the use of artificial intelligence.

RPA examples

RPA as a personal digital assistant is probably one of the best-known examples of how RPA can be used. We refer in this respect to Siri (Apple’s virtual assistant), Alexa (Amazon) or Google Home.

In addition, RPA is also often used in call centers. RPA supports human call center employees by giving sample answers to common questions or problems. This way, employees can focus on more difficult dossiers, questions or problems that require a more human, tailor-made approach.

RPA can also facilitate the work of team members in the sales process. Here too, it will perform repetitive standard tasks, often administrative. Some examples of this are: updating the CRM (customer relationship management) system, entering customer details in the invoicing system, entering sales figures in the accounting system, entering other data in a monitoring system, and so on.

RPA advantages

RPA comes with many different advantages. First and foremost: tasks are performed faster and without errors compared to when they are performed by human employees. In addition, RPA is also more accurate and efficient than a human worker, and is available 24/7 – i.e. it does not need sleep. This way, RPA even reduces the workload of human employees.

There’s no need to worry about the cost of RPA, or about the implementation of RPA in your existing systems. RPA can be implemented very quickly and generally requires no new IT infrastructure or software upgrades. Since RPA is easy to fine-tune and doesn’t require any coding, the impact of the implementation is minimal.

What about the cost? You should not lose any sleep about that either: despite the initial cost, RPA becomes cost-effective quite quickly. You will simply get more done in less time. As a result, you can use your company resources – including your employees – for more qualitative work.

Common misconceptions

RPA has been on the rise for a few years, but it remains a relatively new and unknown concept nevertheless. That is why many people still have misconceptions about RPA.

One prevailing cliché is that RPA makes people superfluous, meaning jobs will be lost. That is incorrect. In fact, we see the jobs content shift from boring, repetitive tasks to more creative assignments. This also makes working days more pleasant: there’s more room for interesting tasks. RPA will ultimately ensure higher added value for people within companies. Thanks to RPA, credit controllers can spend the time they spent on mindless tasks on their core tasks. This provides them with more time to reflect on their work processes and gives them the possibility to come up with new, innovative ideas that benefit the company.

A second misconception is related to the idea that RPA is more susceptible to cyber security risks. There is much that can be said against that, too. Data encryption, active directory integration, segregated access to data, protection against malware and Trojan viruses make RPA resistant to cyber-attacks. Recent research has also shown that human error is still the most common cause of a data breach, and in fact this human link is removed by implementing RPA. This means that cyber security is actually improved with RPA.

RPA as a tool for credit management

Credit management is ready for a revolution thanks to RPA and AI. Thanks to RPA, many human activities within credit management can be automated, such as entering data and standard communication with customers and debtors.

By adding AI – and therefore the possibility to think – more complex tasks within credit management can be automated as well. AI can, for example, assess the creditworthiness of customers, establish new links between data and assess cases based on past data. This allows credit controllers to make easier and more informed decisions about credit risks, and it gives them more time to handle larger and more complex tasks.

Many companies are often not yet familiar with the importance of automation within credit management. Therefore, a large majority of companies are still dependent on manual credit processes, which are inefficient, cause unnecessary costs and have a much greater risk of errors and fraud.

Another advantage of RPA within credit management is that it ensures an increased cash flow for your company. Financial teams become more aware of the question of which customers will or will not pay their invoices. Credit controllers can also focus more on making a difference for their company and customers, instead of having to deal with small but time-consuming tasks.

At iController, RPA and AI are an important part of our core business

By combining both RPA and AI, our software makes it possible to handle credit management efficiently. We use RPA as a tool to ensure that credit controllers can make credit risk decisions more easily and reliably. In addition, payment behavior is also documented, as well as the next steps that must be taken based on the customer ‘s behavior.

Because our software does not require structural changes, it is easy to apply and can be used in all companies, regardless of your current software or the size of your company.

We take every aspect of credit management into account. The process, the people, artificial intelligence, RPA and cash flow optimization are all essential. Curious about the difference that RPA and AI can make in your company? Do not hesitate to contact us for an informal exploratory meeting.

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