Perceptions of Robotic Process Automation in Big 4 Public Accounting Firms: Do Firm Leaders and Lower-Level Employees Agree?
47 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2019 Last revised: 11 Jan 2021
Date Written: January 11, 2020
The use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a recent innovation in the public accounting industry, and the Big 4 firms are at the forefront of its implementation. This paper examines how the adoption and use of RPA is affecting the perceived work experience of firm leaders and lower-level employees at Big 4 accounting firms. We interview 14 RPA leaders, survey 139 lower-level employees, and compare and contrast their responses. We find that the two groups generally agree that RPA is having a positive influence on the profession. Both groups believe that RPA is positively changing the work employees perform and improving employee career prospects. However, while firm leaders believe RPA will improve work satisfaction, lower-level employees report no such improvements. Our insights provide direction for the accounting profession as it increases the use of RPA and for future research studies examining related issues.
Keywords: Robotic process automation (RPA), automation, accounting efficiency, accounting effectiveness, hiring decisions, technology acceptance model, expectation gap
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation