Strengthening Internal Control Programs through Robotic Process Automation
Due to the ever-increasing complexity of the federal government, agencies are utilizing innovative technologies to streamline their processes and support their missions. Doing so requires strengthening internal control programs and being intentional about incorporating innovations such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to create efficient, mission-driven federal agencies.
Internal Control Supports the Mission
Internal control programs are established to ensure effective management so the process of designing management systems that either create a desired outcome or prevent an undesirable outcome can be achieved. We use tenets of internal controls in our personal lives, such as setting a home alarm system to protect against intruders. In the workplace, an example of an internal control would be using a checklist to ensure that a process is completed correctly from start to finish. Ensuring that intentional control activities are in place in the many processes and procedures across government agencies is one way to optimize efficiency and mitigate risk.
Robotic Process Automation Supports Internal Control
In an increasing number of federal agencies, RPA removes the burden of repetitive, low-level tasks (many supporting internal control programs) and creates opportunities for higher-level tasks. You may already be familiar with RPA as “bots,” simple computer programs that perform specific automated tasks. They are at work in our email systems, on websites, and in many other interfaces we use daily. Using RPA to verify data sets and capture data from scanned documents saves a great deal of time and reduces human error while increasing worker satisfaction and productivity.
Enhancing your Internal Control Program with RPA
Agencies that incorporate RPA into their internal control programs allow for a higher volume of data to be processed, saving time, reducing risk, and creating a better workplace culture. As with an internal control program, intention is important when considering the best use of RPA. Identifying which existing control activities could be replaced by RPA is just the beginning of the journey. Consulting about best practices with experienced leaders who have implemented RPA in federal agencies will maximize efficiency. Once RPAs are in place, they need to be managed to ensure that they continue to meet needs as they evolve and function properly as other systems are upgraded or replaced. The RPA Playbook and RPA Communities of Practice are great places to connect with and learn from agencies already deploying RPA processes.
Technology is constantly advancing, changing the way we do business. We have moved from offices operating on paper to completely digitized systems, and a strong internal control program that creatively integrates RPA is the next step in rising to meet the needs of an online world.
Learn more about how RPA can support your internal control program and your mission with our free eBook, RPA in Federal Agencies – How Federal Agencies Achieve More through Robotic Process Automation, our infographic, and in our courses on Robotic Process Automation and Internal Control.