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Robotic Process Automation in Finance

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is user friendly software that automates processes by accessing user interfaces without touching underlying programmes. It provides a way of gaining some of the benefits of systems integration without the same level of investment.

We have held two meetings with finance professionals of large organisations who see the potential for significant benefits from RPA and are running pilots to assess the feasibility of reducing costs and improving accuracy, quality, timeliness and drill-down.

Members can download further details of the two meetings here:

Key Points

  • Prime candidates for RPA are processes which are high volume, low complexity and very manual.
  • RPA enables users to automate processes without significant training. It is therefore possible to reduce the burden on overstretched IT departments. However, the balance of responsibilities between finance and IT is still being worked out.
  • Given the potential for job losses resulting from RPA managing internal communication is challenging. At the moment pilots are being kept low key with messaging focused on reductions in laborious tasks and creating time to do more interesting work.
  • Care is needed in separating the promise from the reality when dealing with RPA providers.
  • Outsource providers are being pushed by their clients to use RPA to reduce costs.
  • Entry level roles for accounting professionals will reduce as a result of automation. Accountants will need to develop their IT skills while retaining their in-depth accounting knowledge.
  • If you are currently working with RPA or considering an RPA project and would like to join the conversation please email Rick.Payne@icaew.com

Further reading

Read ICAEW’s Internal Audit Panel's guidance for internal auditors on providing assurance over robotic process automation (RPA).