Robotic process automation (RPA) isn't yet a household name, but it will be very soon if current trends continue. According to IT research and advisory firm Forrester, the RPA market is set to explode from £180 million in 2016 to £2.1 billion in 2021 — just five years later.
Few industries offer as much potential for RPA transformation as financial services. Financial activities often involve many slow, rules-based, manual processes that could be automated instead, saving a great deal of time and money.
Below, we'll take a look at five ways that RPA can digitally transform your financial services company.
1. Higher Accuracy
They say that "to err is human" — and in financial services, that's undoubtedly true. According to a frequently cited study from the University of Hawaii, 88 percent of non-trivial spreadsheets contain errors.
Switching out humans for RPA software agents can drastically cut down on mistakes and improve accuracy, which is often essential for sensitive financial processes. Because RPA agents behave in a predictable and repeatable fashion, you can be sure that they'll continue to deliver accurate results over time.
2. Improved Productivity
Forrester estimates that the cost of a single RPA agent is between £3,500 and £7,500 a year, which is significantly cheaper than paying a human employee's salary and benefits. Using RPA therefore allows you to enhance your existing workforce and reallocate employees to the tasks that are best suited for them.
By tackling your organization's slow, manual processes via RPA, you can free up your employees from tedious, low-level rote work. This will allow them to instead focus on higher-level activities such as strategic planning.
3. Customer Service
RPA software agents often leverage artificial intelligence techniques to make smarter decisions when faced with new situations. One of the biggest applications of AI thus far is, of course, in chatbots for customer service.
When interacting with customer service, many financial services customers have fairly straightforward queries, such as paying a credit card balance or finding information about interest rates. These activities are simple enough for a chatbot to handle without requiring a human to intervene. By initiating the conversation with a chatbot and moving to a human agent if necessary, companies can dramatically cut down on wait times and improve customer satisfaction.
4. Better Compliance
In order to avoid fines and legal action, every financial services company must comply with a whole host of industry laws and regulations Some of the most well-known include the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the U.S. and the Financial Services and Markets Act in the U.K.
These regulations usually require companies to keep detailed records about their business processes in order to prove compliance in the event of an audit. However, documenting manual processes can be both difficult and time-consuming. Using RPA means that you'll have an easier time creating a paper trail and proving compliance.
5. Greater Innovation
Countless organizations have already discovered that RPA is a powerful tool in any financial services company's toolbox. Simply put, RPA enables your financial services business to do things that it simply couldn't achieve before.
Slow, manual processes that once took up the majority of your time can now be completed in seconds, allowing you to do more and offer more to your customers. By applying RPA in the right places, you'll make your business more efficient and gain a leg up on your competitors.