At Intuit, we consider ourselves a 35-year-old start-up. With a mindset of constant reinvention and self-disruption, we are continually looking to improve processes and move faster. Digital transformation is a framework helping us to deliver on these goals.
Through digital transformation, we are working better and smarter, which ultimately benefits the business and our customers. Real-time data and dashboards enable better, faster decisions, as does our increasing use of automation. Automation is driving significant benefits and acceleration. Automation and technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) also help deliver a superior customer experience.
One key element of our digital transformation strategy is building capability in our finance employees by training them to utilize new and powerful digital tools. One such tool is Robotic Process Automation or RPA. Robotic process automation is an emerging form of business process automation technology based on the notion of software robots or artificial intelligence (AI) workers.
“The essence of automation is freeing up employees to focus on valuable work,” said Michelle Clatterbuck, Intuit’s chief financial officer. “Previously, we simply never had the ability, let alone the time, to focus on what was happening in the moment.”
Through RPA bot boot camps Intuit has started teaching employees to automate simple, repeatable tasks by programming bots themselves.
For several manually intensive Finance processes, these bots offer 24/7 coverage, 100% accuracy, extremely fast processing, and improved compliance controls with auditability.
Employees are also developing proficiency with the Python programming language to help business systems analysts and data analysts leverage self-service tools to build dashboards, configure SaaS planning tools and deploy predictive modeling.
“By investing in this kind of training, we are supporting employees as they develop new skills that make them self-sufficient,” said Clatterbuck. “We still partner with technology vendors to build end-to-end capabilities, but we can also move faster at times when we have the capabilities to design, build and deploy in-house, where appropriate.”
“We are actively testing and have seen tools such as RPA improve how Finance works. For instance, in Invoice Processing, the RPA bot was able to process 480 invoices in eight hours, versus 200 invoices processed manually over eight hours. That equates to productivity savings of 140 percent. Based on these and other impressive results, we have begun more widely implementing RPA,” Clatterbuck said.
The partnership between Intuit’s technology and Finance teams is critical to realizing the true benefits of RPA. Working together, the teams have developed a scalable process simplification and automation framework they are rolling out across Finance. This framework could eventually be used across Intuit.
The end state of digital transformation equates to speed, accuracy and minimal manual intervention in service to delivering the customer benefit. To reach that state, we will continue rolling out tools like RPA. More to come!