Understanding Robotics in Auditing Processes
Modern technology has heavily impacted the auditing process today. However, while the audit processes started registering improvements by incorporating a wide range of computer software like Microsoft Excel and Word for about 30 years, many manual undertakings still define most auditing functions (Gotthardt et al., 2020). However, the evolvement of tools like robotics has provided a new approach to the current auditing practice.
Robotics process automation (RPA) is software auditors extensively use today in their functionalities. This process facilitates interaction with other application software at various stages, notably at the user interface level (Huang, 2019). This software is deployed to automate repetitive processes dictated by rules, structured and accessible 9Gotthardt et al., 2020). It is important to note that the RPA guarantees the automation of tasks undertaken in several software applications. According to (Hofman et al., 2020), the RPA can also facilitate the automation of the audit process.
As (Moffitt et al., 2020) argue, RPA is steadily being rolled out in different organizations. It is primarily thanks to its ability to achieve so much quicker. The robotic process is, however, subject to rules provided by the organization (Huang, 2019).
Impacts of Robotics Process Automation (RPA) on Auditing
As pointed out earlier, the integration of robotics process automation (RPA) by auditing firms today is a strategic move aimed at improving flexibility, efficiency, and accuracy, which are the hallmarks of the auditing process. (Huang, 2019), notes that RPA guarantees improved productivity by ensuring that digital workers are assigned all the repetitive processes. It also ensures that employees have sufficient time to engage in other critical aspects of the company for organizational benefits. The incorporation of RPA has also massively enhanced employee engagement because today, complex and repetitive processes have been eliminated by this innovation (Gotthardt et al., 2020). RPA has effectively rooted out manual processes with modern audit procedures that guarantee the completion of the auditing processes and procedures at an improved speed. It ultimately cuts down the cost of doing business and heightens the businesses’ efficacy.
Looking into the future, it would be sufficient to conclude that RPA may provide even more significant aid to the auditing processes (Moffitt et al.,2018). Presently, auditors still need help with undertaking data analytics that is more informative than risk assessment procedures (Hofman et al., 2020). However, with daily advancements in automation, it is likely to become easier to undertake standardized, rule-based, repetitive, and structured auditing processes that will provide better insights into the risk assessment procedures (Huang, 2019).
Suggestions for Adapting RPA
(Gotthardt et al., 2020) Argues that any changes in a profession are likely to bring many challenges because of the complexities of doing things differently. Like any other technological advancement, robotics process automation reduces manual processes. As a result, auditors who may have been used to the manual way of doing things may encounter many challenges accepting and even using automation as an alternative. While the automation process may be simple, auditors need continuous training and refresher courses to improve their skills because, as (Hofman et al., 2020) opine, technology is never static.
(Huang, 2019) states that organizational factors influence the adoption of RPA in internal auditing more than technological and environmental factors. A company could therefore elect to gradually roll out RPA processes alongside manual processes until the latter is effectively eliminated. This strategy ensures that auditors efficiently understand the values of the two processes and avoid succumbing to too many organizational demands to deliver through the automation process immediately.
- Gotthardt, M., Koivulaakso, D., Paksoy, O., Saramo, C., Martikainen, M., & Lehner, O. (2020). Current state and challenges in implementing smart robotic process automation in accounting and auditing. ACRN Journal of Finance and Risk Perspectives. https://helda.helsinki.fi/dhanken/bitstream/handle/10227/377332/jofrp09g.pdf?sequence=1
- Hofmann, P., Samp, C., & Urbach, N. (2020). Robotic process automation. Electronic Markets, 30(1), 99-106. Robotic process automation | SpringerLink
- Huang, F., & Vasarhelyi, M. A. (2019). Applying robotic process automation (RPA) in auditing: A framework. International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, 35, 100433. Using robotic process automation (RPA) in auditing: A framework – ScienceDirect
- Moffitt, K. C., Rozario, A. M., & Vasarhelyi, M. A. (2018). Robotic process automation for auditing. Journal of emerging technologies in accounting, 15(1), 1-10. Robotic Process Automation for Auditing | Journal of Emerging Technologies in Accounting (allenpress.com)