Records and Reconciliations: A Banking Proof of Concept
by Nick Wilson, Accounting ’19, MSA ’21
Our world today is becoming heavily dependent on the use of new technologies to bridge the gap between repetitive manual tasks and automated workflows. Nichols College provided me the opportunity to build out proof-of-concepts using UiPath’s automation studio. Specifically, I was able to create two automations that I could’ve taken with me into the Accounting & Finance industry.
First, I tackled the concept of an automation that grabs credit card and bank transactions from their corresponding websites. This automation would store this data in an Excel sheet, and format it to be used by accounting clerical staff. This may sound simple at first, but when looked at in a larger lens it can be a huge cost saver for a business and take little time to implement. For example, large CPA firms that perform outsourced Accounting are tasked with downloading transactional activity from their clients. For a firm that has 150+ business clients, this activity alone can take up to 900 hours a year (150 clients, once a week, averaging about 4 minutes per download to obtain and sort the data manually for both bank and credit card transactions). At an average of $20/hour for clerical staff, this can cost $18,000+ for a business each year. My proof-of-concept would have removed this cost entirely as these transaction downloads would have been automated.
Second, I was able to tackle the concept of a reconciliation automation. In the accounting world, reconciliations can happen on a daily basis for large companies. My proof-of-concept would take the excel sheets generated above and would compare them to GL records from an accounting system. Using various excel tricks, transactions that matched up would be highlighted a certain color while others would be specifically identified for the accounting team. There is substantial value in an automation that can partially complete a bank reconciliation for staff. They can instead spend their time researching the discrepancies instead of manually matching up the easier items in a reconciliation.
I’ve taken this knowledge with me into my career, and it has benefited me and my team substantially. I’ve built out automations that create journal entries for all cash, loan, and trading activity. Doing so has prepared us for the long-term as the company continues to expand their services throughout the U.S. My time with Nichols CIPA has proven to be very helpful to my future!