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Robotic Process Automation In Financial Services

Before delving into Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for the Financial Services sector, let’s first gain insight into the current landscape. The business arena is in a constant state of flux. Within this dynamic context, the financial industry faces mounting pressure to reduce expenses while simultaneously elevating customer service standards without compromising its competitive advantage.

Today’s customers crave convenient and swift access to services and highly personalized experiences that offer exceptional value for their money. Financial institutions are tasked with meeting these demands while keeping their operational costs in check, and this is precisely where the power of Robotic Process Automation comes into play. RPA entails the deployment of bots that emulate the routine, day-to-day tasks governed by established business rules, tasks that can be easily automated. Consequently, a significant number of financial institutions are increasingly adopting RPA as the means to fulfill these imperatives.

Its primary objective is to streamline fundamental tasks such as:

  1. Completing forms
  2. Extracting and consolidating data
  3. Formatting data
  4. Copying and pasting information
  5. Reading and writing to databases


This technology enables financial institutions to offer round-the-clock support for critical activities and processes. With the ability to access real-time assistance, these institutions can deploy their staff more strategically.

What is Robotic Process Automation in Banking?

Robotic accounting, also called accounting process automation, leverages applications like UiPath and Blue Prism to reduce the human effort required for processing transactions within accounting and finance departments. These “accounting robots” are tools that streamline routine data transfer between accounting systems and external applications rather than confining their capabilities to a single function.
It’s important to clarify that accounting automation isn’t a complete replacement for human involvement but rather functions as a “bionic arm” that enhances the efficiency of finance and accounting professionals by minimizing the manual data handling workload. UiPath, Blue Prism, and Automation Anywhere have simplified the creation of an artificially intelligent accounting workforce, commonly known as RPA bots, by eliminating the need for expertise in programming to facilitate data integration across various sources.

How are financial institutions making use of Robotic Process automation?

Banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies are prominent adopters of automated processes. In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, these entities are driven by a dual agenda: enhancing customer satisfaction and staying competitive against virtual banking solutions. The relentless pursuit of efficiency improvement and resource optimization has led them to embrace process automation.

Within the banking and financial sector, automation serves two primary functions:

  • Deployment of end-user device software bots.
  • Development of an Artificial Intelligence workforce.

For the finance industry, automation emerges as a pivotal tool to address sector-specific demands and elevate operational efficiency, all while trimming costs through the services-through-software paradigm. A strategic approach is imperative to capitalize on the opportunities within their industry.

Within financial services, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) primarily targets mundane administrative tasks, such as transferring data from emails to the system. It operates at the presentation layer, where it excels at tasks like data extraction from multiple sources, which consume a significant portion of a workday.

Numerous US banks and insurance companies have already integrated RPA into their processes, automating approximately 800 operations. The remarkable growth of RPA is evident when considering that the financial industry is projected to reach a value of $2.9 billion by 2023, a substantial leap from its $250 million valuation in 2016, as reported recently.


What are the challenges?

The financial industry confronts a series of formidable challenges, including:

  1. Automation and AI Integration: Accounting processes have already seen some degree of automation. However, the emergence of AI and virtual reality technology has automated critical accounting tasks like receipt collection and bill conversion into financial statements. While this can significantly save 25,000 hours of work and boost productivity, it also raises concerns about the job security of accounting professionals.
  2. Transition to Online Accounting Services: Current social distancing measures and lockdowns have accelerated the need for virtual accounting services. Accounting firms are now tasked with serving clients virtually and managing remote staff. Traditional accounting firms that have yet to embrace digital operations are feeling the impact of this shift toward online accounting services.
  3. Intense Competition: The financial services sector remains highly competitive. Consumers increasingly demand personalized services and user-friendly digital platforms. Institutions that can provide these features gain a substantial market advantage, as modern consumers prioritize convenience over brand loyalty.
  4. Managing Big Data: The proliferation of big data poses both a necessity and a challenge for financial services companies. The volume of data generated from various sources is rapidly increasing, and traditional data structures need help to handle this influx of structured and unstructured data. According to an EMC report, it is projected that there will be 44 zettabytes of digital data by 2021, equivalent to 44 quadrillion gigabytes. Financial service providers grapple with sifting through this data to determine its relevance and usefulness.

How it is useful in the finance and Banking Industry?

In the financial services sector, several tasks are undergoing automation, including:

  1. Automatic Report Generation:
  2. Banks must regularly generate compliance reports related to fraudulent activities, such as Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). Traditionally, compliance officers manually read and fill in the details of these reports, which is a time-consuming process. However, this process can be expedited significantly by implementing automation with natural language generation capabilities. Automation can swiftly review and extract the necessary information for SAR completion, reducing operational costs and time savings.

Customer Onboarding:

Customer onboarding is often a protracted and labor-intensive process due to the need for manual document verification. This entire procedure can be streamlined through the use of automation tools. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology can extract data from Know Your Customer (KYC) documents, which can then be cross-referenced with the customer-provided information. The data can be automatically entered into the customer management portal if no discrepancies are found. This eliminates the possibility of errors and conserves time and effort expended by employees.

KYC and Anti-Money Laundering (AML):KYC and AML processes are data-intensive, rendering them well-suited for Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA can be applied to detecting suspicious banking transactions and automating manual procedures. Its swift implementation saves time and reduces costs compared to traditional solutions.

Account Opening: The implementation of RPA has streamlined the account opening process, making it more efficient, rapid, and accurate. Automation eradicates errors that may arise between the core banking system and new account opening requests, thus enhancing data quality within the system.

Mortgage Lending: Mortgage lending is a highly time-consuming process, making it an ideal candidate for automation. RPA enables the automation of critical tasks in the mortgage lending journey, including loan initiation, document processing, and quality control. This expedites the process, resulting in heightened customer satisfaction. Additionally, it relieves employees of manual tasks, allowing them to focus on essential responsibilities.

Loan Processing: Loan processing has historically been perceived as an uphill task despite some degree of bank automation. Further automation can reduce the processing time to 10-15 minutes. This transformation would enhance customer satisfaction and alleviate the workload on employees.

Customer Service:The sheer volume of routine customer inquiries challenges staff to respond promptly. Utilizing RPA tools can automate these mundane, rule-based tasks, enabling real-time answers to queries and reducing turnaround times significantly.

Credit Card Processing: involves extensive validation checks, making it complex and tedious. However, implementing an RPA strategy allows for rapid decision-making using a rule-based approach, whether to approve or decline an application.

Account Closure Process: The bank often encounters a substantial volume of monthly account closure requests, primarily due to customer non-compliance. RPA can address this issue by efficiently tracking such customers and automatically generating notifications and reminders for submitting required documents.

List of Accounting and Financial Services companies that are using RPA?

A global insurer, Zurich has achieved significant efficiency gains by implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA). This move has liberated up to 40% of their commercial underwriting process, enabling them to redirect their focus towards high-value-added tasks, especially in handling complex policies. Following a successful pilot program that resulted in a remarkable 50% cost reduction, Zurich decided to expand the implementation of RPA, earning them recognition and an award for their efforts.

Another major global insurer operating worldwide with diverse lines of business reaps the benefits of RPA adoption. Previously, they had to navigate through 26 sites and perform multiple searches to ensure timely claims payments. This process needed to be repeated four times on various dates each month. With the introduction of RPA, this once 4-day task has been reduced to a mere 2 hours, saving thousands of hours of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) work annually and reducing errors.

In the case of the Singaporean bank OCBC, the deployment of RPA has revolutionized the home loan repricing process. What once took 45 minutes to complete now requires only 1 minute. The bot expedites the repricing, verifies customer eligibility, offers repricing options, and even drafts recommendation emails.

As exemplified by Sumitomo Mitsui, Japanese financial institutions have harnessed automation to extraordinary effect. They managed to eliminate a staggering 400,000 hours of manual labor for their employees by automating various processes, signifying a substantial leap in efficiency.

What are the benefits of RPA in Banking?

Here is an improved rendition of the provided details:

  1. Streamlines customer onboarding procedures
  2. Boosts revenue and cash flow
  3. Lowers operational expenses
  4. Automates labor-intensive tasks
  5. Minimizes human interventions, elevating process efficiency
  6. Mitigates customer attrition
  7. Delivers an enriched customer experience
  8. Diminishes churn rates
  9. Elevates customer satisfaction levels
  10. Fosters customer loyalty and trust
  11. Enhances data accuracy and reliability
  12. Upholds industry best practices

Risks Associated with RPA in Banking & Finance

Every process transformation and introduction of new technology carries inherent risks that can impact an organization’s functionality. However, compared to long-term core technology implementations, the risks associated with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are considerably lower. This is primarily because robots can be deactivated and their effects are confined to individual user desktop settings. Here are a few key risks associated with RPA:

  1. Operational Risk: There may be concerns among internal staff about potential job displacement due to the increasing automation facilitated by RPA. However, this concern is largely unfounded. Robots serve as tools that assist employees in alleviating the daily tasks that challenge them, ultimately enhancing their productivity in core business activities.
  2. Compliance Risk: While RPA is user-friendly, managing its scope and inventory can be complex. Therefore, robust audit trials are essential to ensure the accuracy and integrity of work processes.
  3. Data Quality Risk: The quality of data can potentially suffer with RPA if there are no standardized methods for data presentation. This risk underscores the need for coordination in the way information is displayed to maintain data quality.
  4. Ethical Risk: Enterprises must strike a balance between investing in their workforce and adopting technology. Simply outsourcing or replacing staff can negatively impact employee morale. RPA offers a solution that leverages the strengths of both humans and technology, achieving an optimal combination that benefits the organization.

Key RPA Vendors in the Financial Services Sector

In the realm of financial market automation services, numerous vendors operate, but a select few stand out as leaders. These frontrunners include:

  1. Blue Prism
  2. Automation Anywhere
  3. Sprinterra
  4. UiPath
  5. Thoughtonomy
  6. WorkFusion

Use Cases of Robotic Process Automation in Finance and Accounting

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) finds valuable use cases in the field of Finance and Accounting, as illustrated below:

Daily Sales Reconciliation (DSR): In a scenario where a client handles significant volumes of cash and credit card transactions across multiple locations daily, the management team faces the challenge of interpreting these transactions for real-time financial analysis. Manual journal entries are prepared by analyzing Point of Sale (POS) files from various locations. Subsequently, all transactions, including those involving cash, credit cards, and Amex, are reconciled with bank statements to ensure transaction accuracy. Any discrepancies detected require a thorough investigation.

This process is notably time-consuming, especially when transaction volumes are substantial, leading to extended reconciliation times and an increased likelihood of errors. Introducing RPA into this workflow can significantly enhance efficiency. RPA bots can extract transaction amounts, match them with bank statements for each tender type, and promptly flag any discrepancies, thus streamlining the process.

Bank Reconciliation (BRS): Bank reconciliation involves comparing an entity’s financial report balances for cash accounts with the corresponding data on bank statements. The aim is to identify discrepancies and, if necessary, make adjustments to ensure accurate accounting records. Regular bank reconciliations are crucial to ensure that a company’s cash records align with expectations, preventing issues like bounced checks or overdraft fees.

The BRS process typically entails clearing checks in an Oracle system. It begins with identifying common and uncommon checks within files downloaded from Oracle and bank statements, subsequently clearing the common checks present in both data sources. Additionally, the BRS process involves reconciling cash and credit card transactions with data from both Oracle and bank statements, as well as segregating other transactions, such as bank charges, cash pickup fees, exchange gains, and deposits.

BRS, being a repetitive and time-consuming task, can be improved with the introduction of RPA. By leveraging RPA bots, organizations can automate the reconciliation process, allowing employees to collaborate with the bots to achieve more efficient and accurate results, while also enhancing employee satisfaction with the process.


RPA has already garnered a substantial customer base across various industries, particularly businesses seeking cost reduction and heightened efficiency. Its core aim is to optimize human resources by minimizing the efforts required. This technology holds immense potential to revolutionize the landscape of financial services. Moreover, it presents opportunities to expedite business processes through automation, liberating employees from laborious manual tasks.

Through RPA deployment, enterprises can streamline functions such as accounting, proficiently gather and consolidate data, and trim expenses across multiple branches. It also enables the provision of round-the-clock customer support, contributing to an exceptional customer experience while reducing the risk of cyber fraud.

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