By the time Covid-19 was declared a pandemic last year, we all began to see technology as our main saviour. If anyone still had doubts about the digital transformation their company should go through, in March 2020 the conclusion became clear.

As in other parts of the world, Latin American governments and companies unarchived the digitisation projects that were postponed to implement them in record time. Business Process Operations (BPO) services also underwent such a revolution that today, the benefits seem innumerable.

“Traditional BPO services used to require a very exhaustive and meticulous manual uploading of data. This was a process which involved a series of repetitive operations for both the client and the service provider. Importantly, this highly manual process did not allow clarity of financial problems until the end of the month, when the financial exercise is closed and the information reaches the accounting or finance areas”, comments Paola Terrones, Manager of BPO at RSM Peru.

“In contrast, automated BPO services currently offer the opportunity for staff in these areas to delegate the load of data in the system and only monitor the information. The time they previously invested in uploading that information to the platforms, now allows them to see in real time the transactions that are being carried out in the organisation and take corrective measures almost instantly. In turn, finance professionals do not have to wait until the end of the month to start a monthly fiscal year analysis but can make decisions that improve or optimise the results of their organisations. This multiplied by the twelve months of the year, implies an invaluable process and performance improvement for any company,” explains Paola Terrones.

A transformed organisation performs better than those that continue with the traditional process model. To do this, real goals must be set. It is required that participation not only involves numbers, but that the technology used is effective so that work is not destined for operational tasks.

“At RSM Peru we have implemented the automation of various processes in many of our areas, having a very powerful impact at the accounting level that allows us to automate the processes of delivery and receipt of documentation in a structured way. In addition, we generate automated and integrated steps with different systems that streamline the operation of internal areas, and a layer of data analytics reports that allow us to have tools to support decision-making”, concludes Paola Terrones, BPO Manager at RSM Peru.

A technological and generational change

For Lucas Correa, Partner at RSM Brazil, “the business landscape is changing due to many factors, in addition to the pandemic. For example, as the predominant demographic, the Millennial and Gen-Z generations are increasingly emerging as business owners. They bring with them a unique set of values, so I think that accounting in the near future will have 5 main characteristics’:

  • There will be no manual data entry
  • There will be an expectation of real-time relationship with customers through automation and adding value with key business information
  • Proactive alerts and notifications to anticipate future situations or problems
  • Preventive resolution of problems

RSM is helping middle market businesses as a consultant with the technology implementation in the delivery of information and also in the automation of processes. Correa says, “RSM Brazil started a fantastic change by creating three spin-offs in which RPA is the center. We have designed a platform that manufactures robots for repetitive tasks. The solution is delivered ready to work, and we call it ‘Digital Employee’. We also have another technological tool that automates financial statements to add value to deliveries from the accountant to the client. Additionally we have developed a digital accounting platform connected to digital banking through open banking that is mainly focused on independent professionals or small companies such as brokers, lawyers, engineers, architects”, explains Correa.

Additionally, John Droguett, Chairman of RSM Chile comments that “The traditional BPO model is going to change and in our Firm we are initiating a transformative process that incorporates disruptive technologies. Robotic Process Automation creates data pipelines to increase and nurture information, analytical models to detect anomalies, project indicators and obtain insights that add value to our clients. We are also incorporating chatbots to accelerate and improve interaction with targets, advanced document digitalisation processes that allow us to focus our staff's time on tasks where they really add value."

"At the same time, we are working on Artificial Intelligence solutions (Deep and Machine Learning), Advanced Analytics, Process Automation via RPA and DPA and advanced cognitive services for Data Reading, Natural Language Processing and Understanding for automatic information processing and other tools that facilitate accounting and tax compliance processes. All of this is not only necessary, but imminent, and accounts for a reality revealed by the COVID-19 crisis ", explains John Droguett.

Businesses must evolve from just "doing it digital" to "being digital." The first is where many companies currently are, so being digitally successful means integrating digitisation in a way that covers the entire value chain.