How Robotic Process Automation (RPA) may change the role of accounting / payroll professionals?

We all know that technology had reached the level that robots can take over many repetitive tasks from humans and mimic their activities reaching efficiency and better quality levels. The accounting and payroll profession can’t be immune of these trends and moreover are to be one of the first sectors significantly influenced by RPA (Robotic Process Automation) methodologies.

Does it mean that the tasks of accounting and payroll clerks will disappear? We shouldn’t push the panic button yet since digital workforce is more of a buzzword than reality now, but they will change a lot for sure.

Accounting and payroll procedures are already using a lot of technology tools and interfaces, but RPA (robotic process automation) is not an additional one, but a software combining all the satellite applications into one single procedure. It is very important that whether we define the solution as a product or a hybrid model of processes and tools controlled by private individuals. Since the underlying technology already exists (such as one of best-known NICE products) and proved to be useful for million business cases it should be defined rather as a product, but the human factor remains more critical than ever. We believe that more than 50% of the repetitive tasks of accounting and payroll processes can be fully automatized, therefore the role of accounting and payroll clerks change significantly to a more senior, coordinator type of profession.

RPA (robotic process automation) tools not only make repetitive tasks faster, but their implementation is a good chance of re-engineering the existing procedures. New roles will include a solid understanding of how data is captured, stored, converted and reported in order to take necessary actions if error reports occur.

In order to address all the above mentioned changes, we will see a significant shift in roles rather than massive cuts of the overall jobs. Humans should analyze results more instead of doing the transactions themselves. Accounting and payroll matter of experts become real business partners to help managements making strategic decisions.

So, what are the new abilities accounting and payroll clerks should have in order to be ahead of the game in their profession?

  • definitely should have a high-level of general technology knowledge, or so-called digital mindset. Accountants should be tech-savvy professionals, who should learn new technologies continuously
  • monotone tolerance capabilities will be obsolete and more analytical skills will dominate these roles
  • being open-minded and embracing change are key factors. Accountants should learn how to learn, unlearn and relearn.
  • having a consultancy approach towards managing process re-engineering projects
  • communications skills become more important, since actions should initiate faster if certain processes stop. Information remain useless if not presented and shared effectively.
  • coordination and people management should not only known but has to be exercised over peers and people in higher positions as well. Accountants must start building networking bridges in order to be confident enough to act as coordination centers.

The time is here and the time is now to become a catalyst of this change.



Daniela Zsigmond
MD Romania,

Rafał Nadolny
MD Poland,

Tamás Kovács
MD Hungary,

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