A Framework for Using Robotic Process Automation for Audit Tasks
51 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 17, 2020
Technology improvements, especially the ability to automate tasks and processes, are having a large impact on business and auditing. One technology that is receiving significant attention in accounting is robotic process automation (RPA)—or the development of bots. We evaluated six bots designed to perform audit tasks within a large, multinational company and found that three of the bots successfully improved audit performance, whereas three other bots were started but not successfully implemented due to different limitations in meeting their objectives. Using a design science methodology, we then developed and validated a three-step evaluation framework to assist auditors as they make critical decisions regarding appropriate prioritization of RPA activities. We validated this framework using interviews, surveys of experienced internal and external auditors, and two case studies. The framework was deemed helpful in prioritizing bot production for both internal and external auditors.
Keywords: Robotic process automation, RPA, bots, design science, bot-evaluation framework, automation, digital labor, digital auditing
JEL Classification: m40, m41, m42, m49
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