Accountant as Digital Innovator: Roles and Competencies in the Age of Automation
43 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 7, 2019
In this paper we explore how Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is changing the work of accountants, identify the roles that accountants will play in their organizations’ digital transformations, and categorize the skills and competencies that accountants will need to develop in order to successfully work alongside their digital colleagues. We employ a multiple case study methodology and collect interview data from eight organizations undergoing RPA implementation for their accounting and finance tasks. Our analysis reveals that accountants play important roles as identifiers, explainers, trainers, sustainers, and analyzers of their organizations’ automation initiatives. To prepare to undertake these five roles, accountants will need to acquire new technical skills. Therefore, the paper concludes with a mapping of the skills needed for each role that the accountant is expected to play in RPA implementations.
Keywords: robotic process automation; software robots, digital workforce; accounting automation; accounting innovation; accounting digitalization; robotics; digital competencies
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