Get All Access for $5/mo

How Can Small-Business Accounting Benefit From Robotic-Process Automation? There are many ways to automate your accounting department, and robotic-process automation can play a key role.

By Vlad Rusz Edited by Amanda Breen

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I recently attended IMA's annual conference, ACE2021. One of the hot discussion topics was robotic-process automation (RPA). The technology itself isn't new — let's face it, we've all dealt with chatbots —but now RPA is more streamlined and in a price range that small businesses can afford.

While chatbots are ubiquitous, there is a broad spectrum of what RPA can do for small businesses. If you find yourself repeatedly making the same series of clicks, you can automate that process with RPA, saving you and your company hours. No more copy and paste. No more moving data from one spreadsheet to another. No more hunting online for updated data.

Related: How to Scale with Robots: Automation Done Right

Over the years, I've helped many businesses automate parts of their operations and accounting. It's not my specialty by any means, nor my main focus. But over time, those automations have had a tremendous impact, which has prompted me to consider how automation can help small businesses. So how can you start reaping the benefits of RPA in your small-business accounting?

1. Automate your current systems

Most accounting software allows for a bit of automation, so be sure to pick the low-hanging fruit first. That is, take advantage of built-in accounting software capabilities. You don't need an RPA bot to send out invoices if you can simply use the recurring-invoice feature built into accounting software. And once you've automated as much as you can, it's time to analyze your accounting process.

2. Designate an RPA manager

Designate someone on your team to be responsible for RPA across your company. RPA must be considered in a specific linear way, and in order to be successful, you need to document each step in the process.

3. Rethink your accounting process

Sometimes your current way of doing things will not be automatable. Some managers and owners maintain that their process is too unique and can't be automated, but the way to overcome this hesitation is to read use cases. After doing so, think about how you can redesign your accounting process so that it can be automated. The goal is to ultimately reduce the amount of time and money a business spends on accounting.

4. Document your process

One of the biggest challenges for small businesses is that there is no process documentation. While in most cases this allows a small business to be agile and adaptive, it makes it harder to identify tasks that can be automated. Additionally, without documentation, you can lose a lot of productivity if you have employee turnover since the incoming employee has to rediscover how to do the job instead of picking up where the outgoing employee left off.

5. Implement RPA

This last step is the most difficult. Without successful implementation, the work done to this point will be in vain. Implementation is always the hardest for small businesses. It's easy to get excited about a new technology but fail to implement it. There will be stumbling blocks and failures along the way, but the benefits are too great to ignore.

Related: Robots Aren't Stealing Jobs -- They're Making Them Better

Accounting in general has a lot of repetitive tasks that are easy to automate. With the recent push toward automation, much of the data entry and report building is now mostly automated. For many small businesses, RPA might not make the biggest impact in the accounting department. However, it can be a great start that enables you to expand RPA to your operations.

With RPA now being available on the cloud and at affordable prices, it's time for small businesses to take advantage. When comparing the price of an RPA bot to the cost of hiring and training a new employee, it is clear which is the smarter decision. Successfully implementing RPA in small-business accounting and other departments will allow small businesses to compete more effectively and make more money.

Related: Every Entrepreneur Should Befriend a Robot

Vlad Rusz

CPA at Centaur Digital Corp

I was born an entrepreneur. I branched out into accounting and consulting in 2014, winning numerous awards and accolades. I obtained the CPA and CMA designations in 2019, and look forward to many exciting new opportunities.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


How to Close the Trust Gap Between You and Your Team — 5 Strategies for Leaders

Trust is tanking in your workplace. Here's how to fix it and become the boss your team needs to succeed.


6 Cost-Effective Ways to Acquire Brand Ambassadors

Boost your brand's visibility and credibility with budget-friendly strategies for acquiring brand ambassadors.

Health & Wellness

Get a Year of Unlimited Yoga Class Downloads for Only $23 Through June 17

Regular exercise has been proven to increase energy and focus, both of which are valuable to entrepreneurs and well-known benefits of yoga.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Side Hustle

'The Work Just Fills My Soul': She Turned Her Creative Side Hustle Into a 6-Figure 'Dream' Business

Kayla Valerio, owner of vivid hair salon Haus of Color, transformed her passion into a lucrative venture.

Business Culture

Why Remote Work Policies Are Good For the Environment

Remote work policies are crucial for ESG guidelines. Embracing remote work can positively impact your business and employees.