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Financial process automation saving up to 50 hours per month

Our Corporate Finance team has saved up to 50 hours per month in financial reporting and invoicing after introducing robotic process automation to some transactional finance processes.

Background

At the Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (MLCSU), we carry out a high volume of transactional finance processes every day for clients. Following a successful proof of concept using a third party bot, we invested in RPA (Robotic Process Automation) aiming to increase productivity and efficiency.

A review of tasks revealed the priority areas where automation could add the most value. The most labour-intensive activities were accessing ISFE, running and saving reports, manipulating and emailing them out and chasing care providers for responses to emails so that payments could be made.

Action
The bot provider trained MLCSU staff in coding, who worked with our finance experts to understand what, when and how needed to be done in detail. There are three aspects to the automation of ISFE reports, from simple to more complex:

  • Routine running of daily, weekly and monthly reports. The bot runs and saves them overnight so they are ready to be worked on in the morning
  • Manipulating the reports and emailing them out to customers automatically
  • Automated chaser emails to providers.

Impact

Staff no longer have to spend time running standard reports which are now scheduled to run and be saved ready to use automatically.  Staff previously creating, editing and emailing reports to clients every week now focus on adding more value elsewhere in the service.

Our Corporate Finance team has saved around nine hours per month from downloading ledger reports each day as part of the month-end process. The reports are available by 8am each morning during month-end, ready for the team to use.

We have also saved around 30-40 hours per month chasing responses to emails. The bot performs this action twice before it bounces back for human intervention.

We have up-skilled our staff and learnt important lessons on coding, bot providers and requirements for automation. This enhanced knowledge is allowing us to explore even more ways to improve productivity and deliver a better value service to the NHS.

This review of the process allowed us to use technology available to quickly streamline and improve the process.  Driving efficiency allows us to invest time in adding value.”

Lyn Tallentire, Deputy Finance Director, MLCSU