The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s finance modernization team said Tuesday it will soon roll out a bot for automatically paying invoices and updating budget line items that could act as pilot for the future automation of back-office systems at the agency.
The launch of the bot comes amid a push across federal government to use robotic process automation to streamline agency processes. It will automate the currently manual process of paying invoices every month and updating budget lines items needed to pay invoices to customers or vendors.
“It’s the first time we’re actually automating something through robotic process automation. So that’s what makes it so innovative for us is because the bureau doesn’t have bots right now, we were just sort of like putting our toes in that world,” Peter Sursi, head of finance modernization, accounts payable and relocation services said at the Adobe Government Forum in Washington on Tuesday. “So for us to get one on the finance side for us is pretty exciting. It’ll save us a lot of labor hours.”
The tool would affect all 56 FBI field offices and approximately 250 task force officers that process the financial payments within those offices as well as FBI customers who get paid through the invoices which were previously manual processed and time intensive.
Sursi said the new finance bot was created in the past two months and is in final stages of testing, which has energized his team to create a longer list of FBI finance projects that could be automated and made much faster thanks to bot automation.
In March, State Department CIO Kelly Fletcher revealed that her agency had used robotic process automation to cut the processing time for its monthly financial statement from two months to two days.
Speaking at FedScoop’s ITModTalks, Fletcher said financial reporting was one of several areas where the agency is using AI to improve the efficiency of back-office operations, which has the ability to substantially improve reporting processes because of State’s federated structure and global operations.