PwC Consulting and PwC Aarata to Provide Support to SMBC for Streamlining Back-Office Operations through RPA


Support to 3 business units at the Head Office in promoting operational transformation through automation/streamlining processes and solving technical/governance issues arising from use of RPA on a large scale

PwC Consulting LLC
PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata LLC

PwC Consulting LLC (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; CEO Susumu Adachi; hereinafter referred to as “PwC Consulting”) and PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata LLC (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; CEO Koichiro Kimura; hereinafter referred to as “PwC Aarata”) will announce on November 13 that they have provided Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President and CEO Makoto Takashima; hereinafter referred to as “SMBC”) with robotic process automation (“RPA”) solutions for streamlining business processes as part of SMBC’s back-office operation reforms, and will implement such solutions for more than 20 of its business processes.

Leveraging their accumulated experience of planning and implementing organizational and business process reforms for many companies as well as their knowledge on the latest technological developments, PwC Consulting and PwC Aarata are assisting SMBC’s effort to reform back-office operations. Also in cooperation with the PwC Global Network, they aim to streamline business processes and expand business opportunities through RPA solutions in reference to similar cases overseas and to ultimately centralize its business processes on a global level.

A demonstration test was conducted in 2016 and new business processes have been partially implemented from April 2017 after pilot implementation. Currently, efforts are being made to promote full-scale implementation in more than 40 business processes of 17 departments across three business units at the Head Office as well as the Administration Center.

Support by PwC Consulting and PwC Aarata:

  1. RPA of compliance-related processes
    Applied RPA to routine compliance-related processes, such as collection of an enormous amount of information in relation to the anti-money laundering (“AML”)/know your customer (“KYC”) program and various assessments were performed for purposes of addressing financial crimes. As a result of PwC’s efforts, SMBC successfully reduced existing workload to approximately 25,000 hours per year as of October 2017. Going forward, the project will be expanded to cover other compliance-related processes of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, including overseas entities.
  2. RPA of the back office with the objective of strengthening front-office functions of the market-related business unit
    Provided support to reduce the workload of the market-related back office with in order to reduce the volume of administrative work throughout the market-related business unit so that the market-related front office can focus on business activities that directly make profits.

In the future, in addition to rolling out these solutions to overseas entities and Group companies, it is expected that further streamlining and enhancement of business processes can be realized by capitalizing not only on RPA and Cognitive OCR, but also on other advanced technologies, such as AI and Data Analysis.

PwC Consulting and PwC Aarata expects not only that the use of RPA will enable support for streamlining/enhancing business processes, but also that RPA may develop into a new operational technology platform. Having established a new theme “RPA governance”, we are now working on resolution of issues arising from the development of an environment that is sustainable for operating/maintaining RPA and designing its operational framework. Both firms will continue to strengthen their organizational structure so that they can provide the financial sector and other sectors aiming to improve their operational efficiency/productivity with support throughout all phases from the planning of transformation to its implementation and dissemination.

RPA solutions offered by PwC Consulting and PwC Aarata:

  • Development of strategies that capitalize on RPA (e.g. assessment of importance of automation through a process assessment, and assessment of practicability of implementing RPA based on technical trends) 
  • Identification of areas to apply RPA, and ROI testing
  • Implementation of RPA (software) on an enterprise level 
  • Designing and development of a governance framework for operating/maintaining processes automated by RPA
  • Risk assessment regarding RPA implementation, and recommendation of improvements 
  • Use of new technologies, such as AI collaborating with a RPA operational platform, conversion of documents to electronic data (OCR) and analytics for process analysis purposes


About PwC Consulting LLC

PwC Consulting LLC offers comprehensive consulting services from strategy through execution. In collaboration with the PwC global network we work to resolve complex and challenging management issues faced by our clients, helping them bolster their competitive advantage in the global market.

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About PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata LLC

In fulfillment of its mission to provide audits and assurance as outstanding professional services, PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata LLC applies the approaches and best practices of PwC, one of the world's largest accounting firms, in ways tailored to conditions in the Japanese market. In addition, we provide clients with a wide variety of assistance in adopting International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and addressing matters related to internal controls for financial reporting as well as advice on IPOs.

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