Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has emerged as a popular tool among auditors and corporate accountants, aiding in various accounting tasks. While the benefits of RPA are often highlighted, its potential risks and challenges are less frequently discussed. In a revealing article by Marc Eulerich, Nathan Waddoups, Martin Wagener, and David A. Wood, titled „The Dark Side of Robotic Process Automation (RPA): Understanding Risks and Challenges with RPA,“ published in Accounting Horizons, these less-discussed aspects of RPA are brought to the forefront.
The authors conducted interviews with multiple professionals to unearth the challenges, drawbacks, and pitfalls associated with the use of RPA in accounting. They identified five key challenges. Firstly, RPA is often employed as a quick-fix solution rather than addressing core system issues, which can lead to long-term inefficiencies. Secondly, RPA can introduce serious control and security issues, a significant concern in the sensitive field of accounting. Thirdly, the true cost of RPA is frequently misunderstood and understated, potentially leading to unexpected financial burdens. Moreover, the governance of RPA is complex and challenging. Implementing and managing RPA systems require a deep understanding of their functionality and impact. Lastly, the reliance on RPA can result in a loss of process knowledge among employees. This over-reliance on technology can erode critical skills and understanding essential for the effective management of accounting processes.
The article emphasizes the importance of recognizing these challenges to make more informed decisions regarding RPA implementations. It also highlights the need for better governance to address these problematic areas effectively. The authors‘ insights aim to provide a more balanced view of RPA, enabling practitioners to leverage its benefits while being aware of its pitfalls.
For a comprehensive understanding of these insights and challenges, readers can access the full article at: The Dark Side of Robotic Process Automation (RPA).