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Integrating Forms Processing into Your RPA Workflow

RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is becoming increasingly adopted across various industries, a trend that shows no signs of slowing. Its meteoric rise in ubiquity in such a short timespan has spawned the creation of numerous automation vendors, eager to get a piece of the pie. With all the stiff competition, comes continuous improvements to the quality of RPA services provided, as well as a constant demand for new features and updates. Because of this, most RPA solutions offer a little bit of everything, but if your workflow demands handling documents and extracting data quickly and accurately, then a traditional forms processing solution is your best bet.

The good news is that most RPA solutions are easy enough to work with and robust enough to be able to integrate almost any third-party entity into your automated workflow; and we already know that Accusoft’s FormSuite is the king of structured forms processing. So to get the best of both worlds, here we’ll demonstrate how we can combine the forms processing that FormSuite provides with an automated business process implemented using UiPath.

And the best part is… NO CODING REQUIRED! Now before we get into the project itself, let’s set up the scenario that we are automating.

The Scenario

Meet Todd.

He’s fresh out of college with a degree in finance and is now the newest victim… I mean, intern… at TLL, Totally Legit Loans LLC: A legitimate loan establishment for legitimate people. As assistant to the loan officer, Todd is responsible for:

  1. Sorting stacks of loan application papers that have been filled out by potential clients into three piles. These piles are for automobile loans, business loans, and student loans.
  2. Scanning each pile of applications onto his work computer. (TLL is in the process of going paperless).
  3. Reading each loan application and typing the applicant info into TLL’s very old (but totally legit) third party credit checking software, RiskE. Unfortunately, since there are three different kinds of loans he can encounter, there are three separate software programs he must interact with that correspond to each type of loan: RiskE Auto, RiskE Business, and RiskE Student.
  4. After entering the applicant data, Todd must click the submit button. RiskE will show whether the applicant should be approved or denied a loan.
  5. Todd then has to rename the file of each scanned application on his computer. The name should contain the loan application type, the applicant’s name, and whether they were approved or denied.
  6. Finally, Todd has to sort the renamed files into separate “Approved” and “Denied” folders on his computer to be reviewed by the loan officer.

Yikes. Between the sorting, scanning, data entry, and file management, it looks like Todd has a lot of boring, tedious work on his plate. Let’s help him out.

What You’ll Need

  1. FormSuite 5: Download and install the latest version for free right here. Make sure the installation goes to the default location. This should be C:\Users\Public\Documents\Accusoft
  2. UiPath Community edition: Sign up for an account and install the software. Follow the instructions to download the UiPath Studio application. I used version 2019.8.0 when making this project but slightly older or newer versions should also work fine.
  3. The project materials, which can be downloaded here.

I’m also going to assume that…

  1. You are somewhat familiar with a typical forms processing workflow and FormSuite. If not, you can check out Accusoft’s forms processing overview. We’ll specifically be using the FormAssist GUI application that comes with the FormSuite installer. This will handle all of the forms processing stuff for this exercise.
  2. You are familiar with what RPA is and what its used for. If not, you can check out our blog Introduction to RPA.
  3. You are familiar with basic programming concepts such as flow of control, conditionals, loops, variables, etc.

How To Run the Project

  1. Open UiPath Studio and open the project.josn file found in LoanApplication\LoanBot.
  2. Near the bottom of UiPath Studio, click the Arguments tab and change the ProjectRoot argument’s default value to the path of where you unzipped your LoanApplications Folder.
  3. Click the start button at the top left.
  4. The project will start and open up the FormAssist application first. Once it has settled, it will be waiting for new image files to appear in LoanApplication\Incoming. You can copy some images from LoanApplication\FormSet\FilledImages into the Incoming folder and those files will be processed.

Download the rest of my article for a step-by-step breakdown of the automation and a detailed description of the project materials.

James Upchurch, Software Engineer II

James Upchurch joined Accusoft in 2017 as a software engineer and currently works on Accusoft’s SDKs including FormSuite, SmartZone, and ImagXpress. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a focus in project management and application design. Now, his interests are customer advocacy and improving engineering processes. Away from work, James enjoys biking around Tampa, playing guitar, writing, and strength training.