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RPA in Accounts Receivable: 3 Reasons Why Buying is Better Than Building Bots

  • 6 min read

This blog explores robotic process automation in accounts receivable. Specifically, it discusses whether it’s better to build bots to better your AR processes or invest in existing solutions.

A person's hands are seen typing code on a laptop

The topic of robotic process automation (RPA) comes up often in accounts receivable (AR) automation conversations—specifically, discussions around purchasing already established AR automation solutions like DadePay (since acquired by Versapay) versus building bots in-house.

So, this article serves to explore what we’ve seen play out with businesses who choose to do the latter: build bots to better their accounts receivable processes rather than invest in existing solutions.

Spoiler alert: these companies that build bots themselves end up losing time achieving their desired results, ultimately realizing that better, faster ROI-yielding solutions exist. Months—or even years—into bot projects, Finance leaders are seeing that internally built bots aren’t working as intended, don’t scale easily, and—in some cases—are even causing additional manual work for their teams.

Here are 3 reasons that customers come back to us after these project attempts and end up choosing Versapay.

1. Bots take time to build, implement, re-build, and re-train.

Information technology (IT) is a notoriously busy function. Even if your IT team has the time to build a bot aimed at automating key parts of accounts receivable—like cash application—it’s important to factor in the resource time needed for ongoing bot maintenance.

As unforeseen challenges arise, your payment processes change, and new payment channels are added, your IT team might not always be available to prioritize your requests. And what if your payers change invoice formats or payment providers—can your bots adapt?

Many organizations are realizing that they do not want to be in the business of maintaining their own bots and prefer to have a partner to call when new requirements arise, or support is needed.

2. One size bot does not fit all.

Major effort and customizations are required to transform generic robotic process automation platforms into solutions that are applicable to the accounts receivable space and to the unique payment scenarios and rules of your business.

Many of the homegrown bots we’ve seen developed can import information from a data dump into an ERP, but still require manual manipulation for cash application and closing out invoices. Other bots are designed to retrieve remittance details but cannot upload that information into their ERP. Oftentimes, other complications commonly arise when customers change their billing platforms, too.

Versapay’s AR Automation solution is purpose-built for accounts receivable. It leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to smoothly auto-match and apply payments regardless of the unique scenarios that crop up across your paper and digital payment channels.

With Versapay, you achieve automation immediately, without the delays associated with training a homegrown solution to understand your use cases.

Versapay also incorporates mobile technology to capture, deposit, and apply payments received in remote locations such as branch offices at the point of customer delivery.

In addition to best-in-class accounts receivable technology, your business will also benefit from our implementation support teams, who have learned from the successful and unsuccessful AR automation projects they’ve witnessed, ensuring your project will be the former. Versapay AR automation experts also provide guidance on how your existing processes could be optimized so you can maximize the benefits you realize.

Our customers can achieve the following through using our accounts receivable automation solution. They’re able to:

  • Reduce time spent on cash application by as much as 75%,
  • Post +90% of payments straight-through,
  • Scale their business through massive growth without adding AR headcount,
  • reduce DSO,
  • accelerate collections, and
  • Help their team members enjoy a more satisfying set of strategic job responsibilities.

3. Beware of the hidden bots.

Unwanted external bots—from third-parties you’ve no relationship with—can pop into your AR world in unseen ways, too. There exist some accounts receivable technology providers who leverage these types of bots as a method for retrieving remittance data from biller sites, for example, going as far as charging fees for email or file delivery of this information.

As more biller sites begin to offer paid options for automated remittance delivery, they are increasingly motivated to break AR automation solutions by continually changing their UI in ways that are minor enough so as not to bother human users.

In the event you choose not to build your own AR automation bots, still be wary of partnering with AR automation vendors that rely heavily on these types of crawlers, as you may find continual disruption to straight-through processing levels.

There's a good chance you aren't in the business of building bots. That's why we created our AI-powered cash application solution. Learn how it helps real clients in this on-demand webinar.

The bottom line on homegrown accounts receivable automation bots

Robotic process automation is amazing technology and provides immense value for a multitude of accounts receivable use cases. And while building your own AR automation solution might be appealing, it’s often preferable to invest in established automation solutions instead.

Here are some key parting questions we hope you consider when determining your automation goals:

  • Is your IT team available to fix, re-train, or re-build your bot? If not, how will your team be supported?
  • Have you clearly mapped out—with your IT team—how payments are received (paper, digital, lockbox, in-office, remote locations), matched, and applied, and how your ERP is updated?
  • Will your bot address key challenges your AR team is facing without creating new ones?
  • Are you clear on the upfront and ongoing cost of building a bot versus investing in a best-of-breed AR automation solution?

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