How RPA Is Reshaping Finance

Robotic Process Automation. This is a term that has been floating around the industry for quite a while now, and it is here to stay. So, what exactly is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)? RPA is the use of machine learning software to handle high volume, repeatable tasks that previously required humans to perform. This includes queries, computations, and entering transactions. RPA is widely being used by organizations in different departments like Finance, HR, Procurement, etc. Off all of these, Finance is the most lucrative for RPA. Finance is one of the most integral functions of an organization, responsible for the overall profitability and financial integrity of a company. The significance of finance will never change, but the approach towards finance is ever changing. One of the key factors for this shift is emerging technologies like RPA.

Why Finance?

With the current uncertainty in the economy there is a higher pressure on Finance and Accounting executives to deliver revenue and growth while keeping costs at a minimum. Developing technologies like RPA is the perfect solution to ensure that your return is high while costs are lower as compared to a traditional model of operating.

In RPA, any function that is repeatable and consistent, manual in nature, and has a set of rules/templates is ideal for automation. According to Gartner, 89% of General Accounting Functions are highly automatable due to this nature of activities being performed. This leads to increased Return on Investment (ROI), reduced Turn-Around-Time (TAT), and reduced costs due to reallocated Full-Time Employees (FTE) to higher value roles.

Which Finance Functions are being Automated

Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR) can sometimes be a cumbersome task for finance departments. One of the reasons for this is that invoices (and other documents from vendors and customers) are of varied templates with non-standardized data. RPA BOTs can easily perform AP and AR functions like Invoice Validation, Invoice Creation, Supplier On-Boarding, Outstanding Monitoring etc. by capturing data from documents (like invoices) and effectively posting them onto a required platform, thus reducing manual intervention and human error.

Reconciliation

One of the biggest areas of RPA in Finance is for Reconciliation as it can be a time-consuming process for Finance Departments.

This covers Bank Reconciliation, AP& AR Reconciliation, P&L Reconciliation etc. RPA BOTS can read, consolidate, and match data between various applications (like a company’s ERP) and documents much faster than staff. The probability of human error is also reduced. A report by EY suggests that automating the reconciliation function itself can result in a 40%-60% reallocation and reduction.

Financial Reporting
End of financial year is often dreaded by finance departments due to the large volume of reports that must be generated and distributed. In today’s business climate, reporting has become imperative not only for compliance purposes, but also to enable an organization to make informed decisions about its operations and strategy. Inaccurate or overdue financial reports can impact a company’s bottom line resulting in them losing their competitive edge.

The reporting function can involve a lot of ledgers, applications, documents, etc. making the process quite tedious. RPA is apt in such a scenario and can provide Finance Managers and CFOs with much needed support.

Future Outlook

RPA adoption by finance departments is on a constant increase. More and more decision makers are realizing the importance of RPA and actively incorporating it into their processes. In fact, consider RPA BOTs to be like virtual assistants to the Finance Department. The BOTS will take care of the menial routine activities, thus freeing up personnel to focus on value-adding decision making.

MSPs – Facilitating The Growth Of SMEs

In today’s business environment, technology plays a bigger role than ever before. A sound IT Infrastructure is required for the functioning of every aspect of an organization. However, access to the right infrastructure, along with the right IT personnel is not something every SME can attain. This is where MSPs come into the picture.

MSPs provide end-to-end IT consultancy and services to an organization. This includes assessment and implementation of appropriate infrastructure, proactive monitoring of IT health, and constant remote or on-site support.

Why should SMEs opt for Managed Services?

Cost Reduction
According to Dubai SME, a division of the Department of Economic Development (DED), while 95% of the total enterprise population in the UAE is accounted for by SMEs, the overall productivity of SMEs is quite low. One of the main reasons for this is due to limited Information and Communication Technology (ICT) adoption by companies. A factor that affects this could be the associated costs.

For SMEs, there is always a trade-off between access to state-of-the-art IT Infrastructure and Staff, and the relative costs associated with it. By employing MSPs to take care of their IT needs, SMEs have the option to exploit the best of technology available without having to compromise on low cost. MSPs work on a fee/subscription method, enabling SMEs to have a certain idea of what their IT expenses are going to be, with very little room for surprise costs.

Access to Best Talent and Technologies
With MSPs, SMEs no longer have to invest time and money into hiring the best talent. In fact, finding appropriate staff can be quite a lengthy and capital-intensive procedure for SMEs, which a lot of them are unable to do. MSPs not only provide an avenue to an adept IT team, but they’re also able to solve another challenge for SMEs – Infrastructure.

SMEs do not have the resources to consult with individual vendors for infrastructure and supplementary software. MSP’s become a one stop shop who can cater to this. Technology is also ever evolving, and MSPs have the skills the discover and implement new appropriate tech at ease, adding to SMEs efficiency and productivity.

Increased Security and Reduced Risks
Unfortunately, with the evolution of technology, there has also been an increase in the number of security breaches and cybercrimes reported among organizations. Any system downtime can have a detrimental impact on SMEs business goals.

By SMEs ‘Outsourcing the IT’ to MSPs, they can handle any issues more efficiently due to their dedicated experience. MSPs also consistently monitor the IT of their clients, and often prevent IT incidents, as compared to fixing them after they have happened (more proactive than reactive).

Final Thoughts

With the way technology is changing and with the evolution of disruptive technologies coming up like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Internet of Things (IOT), it is imperative for organizations, especially SMEs, to be able to maintain their competitive edge.

MSP’s assist SMEs in achieving their objectives by helping them focus on what matters: customer satisfaction and the bottom line. MSPs are no longer just IT providers to SMEs, they are partners.

A Businesses Guide To Automated Monitoring Solutions

One of the biggest disruptors in today’s business world is Automated Monitoring Solutions. Don’t worry, the real technology is not all as elusive as the name itself sounds. Off late, everyone has been hearing about ‘Smart Homes’; where all your appliances are connected to one central computer system and can be used to control these appliances. There is another area where the same technology is being rampantly used: The Corporate World.

Automated Monitoring Solutions have been described as ‘a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, or objects that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human to human or human to computer interaction.’ Businesses have a huge need for automated monitoring systems.

How it Works

There are a lot of monitoring options available for corporates. These function as explained:

Which Industries are using Automated Monitoring Solutions?

Food and Beverage

One of the biggest roles of Food and Beverage (F&B) providers is to safeguard the quality of their produce and prevent spoilage. This process is imperative right from the warehouse to the outlet. In the conventional model, organizations have staff monitor temperatures, water levels, humidity, etc. at regular intervals. Monitoring sensors can be used for the same, saving organizations effort and improving efficiency. According to a report by ReportLinker, the F&B Manufacturing sector for automated solutions is expected to grow 9.5%.

Healthcare

The world of Healthcare providers is fast paced. Doctors and medical staff do not have the time to physically inspect each bit of equipment manually. Monitoring Devices can be used to monitor and track medical environments like storage rooms, patient rooms, pharmacies, etc. It can provide timely information on which equipment needs to be upgraded, any power outages, medicine loss, etc. before it happens. This not only helps save thousands of dollars, but it also helps the Healthcare Provider maintain their reputation. This indirectly contributes to a patient’s health and well-being.

Hotels and Hospitality Providers

The motto of any hotel and hospitality provider is to keep their customers satisfied. Customer satisfaction is linked to a comfortable stay, and things like power outages, non-functioning air conditioning, a swimming pool without temperature control, etc. can largely affect ratings. Monitoring sensors can be used to monitor these along with different matters in a hotel like room control, temperature in coolers, food control, leaks, exterior monitoring, etc.

Manufacturing and Logistics

In industries that are heavily reliant on machinery and hardware for its operations, automated monitoring sensors are a boon. Factories have to continuously monitor their equipment for any maintenance, and track shipment of their products. Automated monitoring sensors are proving to be beneficial right from the beginning of the supply chain with production, right to transportation and delivery of the products. According to a report by Mckinsey, usage of these devises in manufacturing will result in economic value of $1.2 to $3.7 trillion in by 2025.

Adoption of Automated Monitoring Sensors

While some businesses have been successfully implementing automated monitoring devices as part of their functions for years, others are just discovering its benefits. According to a report, there is an expected 40% compound annual growth rate for automated monitoring solutions over the next few years. If you haven’t jumped onto the automated monitoring solutions bandwagon yet, now is the time to do so!

Role Of RPA In The Logistics Industry

Logistics is a function that has been around since the early Greek and Roman Empires. During those times, military officers called ‘Logistikas’ were appointed to oversee the supply and allocation of all resources needed for the war. This system has evolved through the Middle Ages, the Industrial Revolution, etc. into the full-fledged Logistics and Supply Chain Industry as we see today. In today’s global economy, it is completely normal to have an organization have its customers and suppliers all over the world.

We are currently undergoing an ‘Automation’ Revolution. Logistics companies have started incorporating Robotic Process Automation (RPA) into their daily functions to improve their operational efficiencies and supply chain. Investopedia defines RPA as software that can be programmed to perform repetitive and manual functions that currently required human beings to do. According to a report by World Economic Forum, there is $1.5 trillion of value for players in the logistic industry and a further $2.4 trillion worth of societal benefits as a result of digital transformation of the industry up until 2025.

What functions can be Automated?

Scheduling and Tracking

One of the primary functions of an organization in the Logistics Industry is to schedule and track their outgoing and incoming shipments. This can be quite time consuming due to the large volumes of data, the menial nature of the data-entries, and the proneness to mistakes.

RPA can be used to automate aspects like reading emails to extract shipping details, posting/retrieving information on ERP systems, updating necessary channels, etc. RPA software have the capability to read emails, invoices, purchase orders, shipment documents, delivery documents, etc. and update the necessary platforms.

Inventory Management

It is imperative for Logistics companies to sufficiently monitor and maintain their inventory levels in their warehouses and docks to manage customer satisfaction. RPA software can be used to monitor these levels and send out automatic email notifications when there is a difference in inventory levels from SLA.

Invoice Processing and Reconciliations

Logistics and Supply Chain Companies are regularly swamped with their finance activities like invoice creation, invoice posting, and reconciliation between different portals. Often, these functions are highly menial in nature, and do not need routine human brainpower. They can also be exceedingly time-consuming. A study by Aberdeen Group suggests that it takes anywhere from 4.1 to 16.3 days to process an invoice end-to-end.

RPA has the ability to read different templates from suppliers/customers and extract information from them, post them onto required platforms, and send updates to concerned parties. RPA is also widely being used in the reconciliation section, like bank reconciliation and invoice reconciliations.

Reporting

Reporting is one such function that serves as a primary ingredient in decision making. Logistics companies use reports from departments like procurement, inventory, tracking, finance, HR, etc. to make informed decisions on the future of the organization. RPA can assist in creating reports following a standard format but extracting, compiling, and comparing data to provide findings.

Prospects for the Logistic Industry

The nature of the Logistics and Supply Chain Industry provides a lot of opportunity for organizations to streamline their processes and increase their profitability using RPA. Logistics Leaders have already started implementing RPA in their undertakings. This ensures smooth functioning not only for organizations, but also their customers and suppliers. Unquestionably, the Logistics Industry is going to thrive by incorporating RPA.

Work Remotely Using Office 365

COVID-19 has affected the whole world since the beginning of 2020. Countries across the globe have closed their borders, imposed travel restrictions, and self-isolation measures. This has created a pressure on businesses in going about their daily activities.

Numerous organizations are now implementing work-from-home initiatives to accommodate these limitations. This is an option not just available to big companies, it is something SME’s can successfully employ too. One such option that is helping organizations work from home, especially smaller ones, is Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 is a cloud-based software service that encompasses features like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, etc.

Microsoft Teams
One of the most popular of Microsoft’s offerings is its ‘Teams’ software. The tagline for Teams ‘Work Remotely Without Feeling Remote’ is an accurate description of the capabilities it offers.

Departments can set up groups or ‘Teams’ on the Team application and assign members for each of them, like you would in a physical business environment. Different channels can be created and used to streamline the different projects. Employees can share and keep track of files with ease with other members of the team, as well as send updates.

With the current travel restrictions, it is almost impossible for employees to travel internationally, and sometimes even locally to physically attend meetings. Teams has proven to be very beneficial in such cases. Teams has video and audio calling features which can be used from individual meetings to group conferences, all the way up to 10,000 users. It is easy to schedule meetings, share meeting decks, record meetings, and collaborate using the Teams software.

Teams has taken off in the past few years due to these advantages. In fact, Teams boasts over 13 million users per day.

OneDrive

The main benefit of OneDrive is that it is linked to the cloud, meaning that files can be saved and accessed from anywhere, at any time. At a time where it might not be possible to physically use your office workstation, this feature is a blessing.

OneDrive also enables users to share their files to their colleagues. You no longer need to be physically present at the office to collaborate on projects and pool resources. If you are worried about security, you can choose to password-protect your documents, making sure that anything of a sensitive nature is protected. This sharing is not only applicable for users within the company, but also external users.

Other Office 365 Tools

One of the biggest benefits of Office 365 is that you can interlink the different apps. For example, software like Word and PowerPoint can also be linked to your OneDrive. Multiple users can work simultaneously on the same files if needed. There is also a commenting feature available on these software’s. Assessors can evaluate documents and leave comments for the author. The author can in turn review these and reply to comments. Mobile and offline versions for all these apps are available, increasing connectivity.

Conclusion

We have just scratched the surface of the benefits that the Office 365 package offers. It is economical and requires no major capital investment, making it within reach for all. It is cloud based, hence there is accessibility to files from anywhere, and the latest upgrades are automatically available with no additional costs to the customer.

An ‘office’ or a ‘meeting’ no longer needs to have a physical location, just the appropriate technology. Office 365 is such a software that truly enables the workforce to become virtual. In testing times such as now, software’s like this can help maintain the health and well-being of not only your employees, but also your partners and customers.

Remote IT Support Is Quickly Overtaking Traditional In-House And Freelance IT Support

Most Small and Medium organizations follow a system where their IT is held either internally by dedicated IT personnel/on a time-sharing basis by one of the non-technical staff or outsourced to a freelancer. While in-house IT and outsourcing to a freelancer have its own advantages, the trend is quickly shifting to contracting to dedicated external IT Services Companies (Managed Service Providers – MSPs) to avail Remote IT Support benefits

Remote IT Support vs Freelance IT Support
One of the biggest advantages of Remote IT Support with an MSP as compared to outsourcing to a freelancer is access to a wider pool of technical resources. The client has the option to use the expertise of a team of IT specialists as compared to a single IT resource.

There can be a lack of continuity when it comes to hiring freelance. There can also be uncertainty in certain cases, for example, when the freelancer goes on leave or becomes temporarily unavailable. This leads to time delays. As MSPs provide a complete package and well-defined process for IT Support, the client will always have consultants at their service, ensuring lesser uncertainty.

Remote IT Support vs In-house IT Support

One of the biggest problems of having your IT in-house personnel is the associated costs. Along with basic employee compensation, there are additional costs for recruiting, training, and retaining. IT Service Providers take care of these costs for you, and charge you on a fixed subscription basis, thus resulting in significantly lower costs. Considering that most IT issues can be solved remotely, this leads to even lower costs due to economies of scale.

For certain companies, especially SME’s, having an in-house IT team can not only be disadvantageous, but detrimental. This is mainly due to limited knowledge among limited IT staff, higher costs, and a lack of flexibility. In many scenarios, internal IT Support is provided by non-IT employees who provide IT services as an additional service, and not their core job. This affects the overall quality of all the roles that these employees perform.

In this sense, going remote provides better quality and more flexibility to organizations.

Choose Remote IT Support

An aim of Remote IT Support is to make sure that your employees can focus on their core activities without having to worry about IT issues. Since the costs are fixed and predicable, companies have a better idea of what to expect and can plan more effectively. This also gives them a better control of the overall health of their IT services.

Choosing the right IT model for your organization can be daunting but is extremely crucial. Remote IT Support has been tailored to deliver all the best aspects of Outsourced IT Support, along with the best features of Freelance IT Support and In-House IT Support.

Grow Your Business With A Remote IT Workforce

Most organizations are accustomed to hiring all their employees on a Work-from-Office (WFO) basis. In light of Covid-19, many organizations were forced to adopt a Work-From-Home (WFH) model. However, this adoption has moved from an ‘obligation’ to a ‘necessity’. Companies around the world have started realizing all the benefits that a remote workforce has to offer.

One of the areas most apt for a WFH model is Information Technology (IT). Majority of IT tasks like Application Development and Support, IT Helpdesk Support, IT Consultancy, etc. can be performed remotely. With the prevalence of sophisticated technology, it is ever so easier to communicate and collaborate digitally.

This model offers a range of benefits:

Flexibility

Many businesses have already started a WFH initiative, however it usually only pertains to existing staff. The WFH structure can also be applied to new hires, be it on a permanent or casual basis. One of the biggest advantages of this model is the flexibility that it offers to employers, in hiring short-term or long-term, as per their needs. This proves to be very beneficial in Projects, especially when IT hire is often needed for a short period at a short notice.

Wide Pool of Talent

Organizations now have access to talent from all over world. The WFH structure erases ‘virtual borders’ and provides connections to talented prospects across geographical locations, which may not have been previously available. This not only ensures greater extent of resources to choose from, but also access to greater quality of hires. Especially in IT, it is very important to get access to proficient consultants.

Increased Efficiency

The WFH model provides cost efficiencies to organizations. Typical fees like visa charges, physical office space rents, etc. can be almost eliminated. In fact, according to a study by Zapier, 2 in 3 knowledge workers think that traditional offices may become outdated by 2030. In a time where all organizations are looking to reign in their costs, the WFH structure can provide many monetary benefits.

It has become necessary for organizations to ‘go remote’, at least for a portion of their staff, especially in IT. Businesses must embrace changing employee structures to remain dynamic. Work-from-home is not just a small term objective, it should be a long-term goal of any organization.

Five Tips To Prevent Cyber Attacks

Cybercrime is growing all over the world, especially in the Middle East. In fact, in 2019, 4 in 5 companies in the UAE faced at least one cyberattack as per Gulf Business. Cyberattacks and Ransomware can result in data loss and breaches, time wastage, and a shortfall in productivity. It is important that organizations stay vigilant and employees are always up to date on prevention protocols.

Five tips to prevent Cyberattacks:

  • Don’t open emails from unknown persons. The most common way for a cyberattack or ransomware attack is through links/attachments present in unknown emails. It is important to have email scans and controls set up by your IT team. In fact, the TRA Report suggests that the most common cyberattacks in 2020 in the UAE are through emails.
  • Maintain regular backups of data. The most frequent outcome of ransomware is the loss of important data, often unretrievable. Organizations should aim at regularly backing up their data, both on the cloud as well as a local backup.
  • Be vary of downloads. It is important to be vigilant when downloading files from websites, especially if the website is unknown.
  • Avoid giving out personal information. Do not reply to emails/forms asking for personal information, as this data can be used to infiltrate your system.
  • Use Security Software. Enable Firewalls to ensure computer users safety when browsing the internet. Make sure your antivirus is up to date and all security software used is original and reputable.



While it can be impossible to completely eliminate the risk of cyberattacks, it is possible to reduce the probability and intensity of them by following the above tips. The best way to combat such an attack is for it not to happen in the first place.

If you have any suspicions or queries, make your IT Team aware of this immediately. For more information on how to prevent cyberattacks and ransomware attacks, contact us today.

Tech Trends For 2021

If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us, it is the importance of Technology. Technology has become a pillar for organizations to perform their day-to-day activities, and organizations that do not make use of the tech available to them have the possibility of being left behind.

While a lot of the current trends came about as more of a necessity than a choice, the good news is that they have now become business opportunities for organizations. Here are the Tech Trends that we envision for 2021:

1.Importance of Work-From-Home (WFH) Professional Services

With the rise of the WFH model, organizations have realized the many benefits it offers. The WFH model is especially advantageous in providing flexibility and lowering costs, with no fall in employee efficiency.

Hiring on a WFH basis can also give employers access to a talent pool from all over the world. If they have not already, most companies worldwide will be shifting to a ‘Digital Workplace’ and endeavor to have a mix of Remote and Onsite staff.

2.Significance of Digital Transformation

According to International Data Corporation, the worldwide spending on Digital Transformation is set to grow 10.4% annually to $1.3 trillion in 2021. Demand for Digital transformation services in the fields of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will only keep increasing. Automation will take over performing menial tasks, leaving human beings to focus on core decision making and jobs that require critical thinking.

2021 will also be a year of higher demand for Internet of Things (IoT) services and Automated Sensor based solutions across the globe.

3.Security

2020 saw a rapid increase in cybercrimes and ransomware attacks worldwide, impacting both SME’s and Large Corporations. A prime example of this is the recent SolarWinds cyberattack that took the world by storm. In 2021, CIOs should focus more on ramping up their Security, as well as educating their employees on prevention of Cyberattacks. Organizations should also have consistent IT Audits to reduce the chances of attacks as much as possible.

4.Cloud Technology

The need for investment in Cloud has grown in 2020 and will continue to grow in 2021. It is important to utilize Cloud Services for Data Backups, which is proving to be especially beneficial in managing data losses due to increase in cybercrimes over the past year. Cloud technologies are also highly beneficial for fostering a WFH model, especially when it comes to collaboration among the team.

While 2020 was all about chartering through unforeseen territory, 2021 will be the year to capitalize on the opportunities that have come up with ‘the new normal’. Technology in 2021 will be a catalyst for innovations and business development.

Demand For Robotic Process Automation Increasing

While the pandemic has resulted in many disruptions for businesses around the world, it has opened opportunities for organizations to utilize Robotic Process Automation (RPA) services. RPA is the use of specialized software to process high volume, rule based, and repeatable tasks that were previously being performed by humans. This includes, but is not limited to computations, data entry, and validations.

According to Gartner, the Global RPA Software Revenue is set to increase by nearly 20% to $2 billion in 2021. The demand for RPA has especially grown with the pandemic, with companies realizing the many benefits that it offers:

1.Boosts Productivity
Sometimes there are huge time wastages in performing menial and tiresome tasks (like data entry). This can result in lower efficiency, lower employee morale, and a larger chance of error rates. RPA acts as a virtual assistant to employees and leaves them to focus on the work that really matters, increasing their productivity.

2.Improves Quality
RPA has a lower error rate as compared to humans due to the elimination of human error. This enhances quality of processes, which in turn saves time, reduces costs, and improves customer satisfaction.

3.Better Flexibility
During these uncertain times, flexibility is something that every organization is looking for. In a time where majority of employees have shifted to Work-From-Home, RPA bots can give the much-needed flexibility to business processes. Bots can be programmed to deal with the ever-changing business environment.

While the pandemic has disturbed the way we work, the prospects it has presented cannot be ignored. RPA is not just a ‘nice-to-have’, it has become imperative to the workings of businesses and will prove highly beneficial in the post-pandemic world.

The evolution of RPA has resulted in an increase in selection of RPA Tools available to customers, like Jiffy RPA. For more information on how we can help you kickstart your RPA Journey, contact us.