To fulfill banks’ and financial firms’ regulatory obligations, Compliance functions often go through repetitive, multi-step processes to navigate complex technology application architectures. Accenture’s 2016 Compliance Risk Study, “Compliance at a Crossroads: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?”, found that 73% of surveyed Compliance officers agree that process automation, including increased use of robotics, will be a key enabler for improved use of resources in Compliance within the next 3 years.1
As Compliance officers continue to explore solutions to improve their day-to-day operations, robotic process automation (RPA) has emerged as a cost-effective solution to help organizations capture greater efficiencies through the automation of highly manual processes and workflow.
What is RPA?
RPA structures computer software to capture process actions, such as transactions and data manipulation, to trigger responses and communication with other digital systems.2 RPA employs “robots” to mimic the steps of a rules-based, non-subjective process, operating other application software through the RPA user interface that uses structured digital input. This is done without compromising the existing IT infrastructure.3
What are the potential benefits of RPA?
By applying RPA to existing processes, organizations can reap benefits across multiple dimensions:
- Productivity: Increased productivity with the potential to operate 24/7 and with fewer FTEs dedicated to completing repetitive tasks
- Auditability: Greater visibility and auditability of transactions, leading to better control of integrated processes
- Costs: More efficient management of seasonal demand supported by the cost-effective implementation of virtual resources at a fraction of the cost of an FTE
- Quality: Improved consistency of quality without human input
- Employee Satisfaction: Higher staff satisfaction by eliminating monotonous tasks and allowing employees to focus on higher value work
Where can RPA be applied within compliance organizations?
Candidate processes for RPA are identified by conducting preliminary assessments, using a set of process, technology and risk feasibility criteria. Target processes for robotics opportunities typically feature the following characteristics:
- Highly manual
- High volume
- Rule-based/no human judgment
- Low exception volume
- Digital data
- Infrequent changes in process steps and rules
- High likelihood of human error
The high volume and rules-based nature of Compliance reviews make many of its processes candidates for RPA. Below are examples of Compliance processes that may employ RPA:
- Employee Compliance: Control Room, Licensing and Registration, Gifts and Entertainment, Personal Account Dealings and Outside Affiliations and Private Investments
- Surveillance: eCommunications and Social Media Surveillance, Trade and Sales Practice Surveillance and Monitoring and Testing
- Financial Crime: Know Your Customer (KYC), Customer Due Diligence (CDD), Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD), Transaction Surveillance and Authentication
RPA is more than a technology trend. It supports businesses and Compliance functions in their efforts to capitalize on the strengths of humans and machines to solution, deliver and manage business processes. As organizations rotate to the new and the digital revolution gains momentum, humans and machines are expected to quickly find themselves working side-by-side, and RPA offers businesses a foundational platform for embracing both as critical team members.
- “Compliance at a Crossroads: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?” – Accenture’s 2016 Compliance Risk Study,” Accenture 2016. Access at: https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/PDF-10/Accenture-Compliance-Risk-Study-2016.pdf#zoom=50
- “What is Robotic Process Automation?,” Institute for Robotic Process Automation. Access at: http://www.irpanetwork.com/what-is-robotic-process-automation/
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