Robotic process automation in Finnish financial administration
1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Accounting, Accounting
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-202106178344
Oulu : O. Mikonmaa,
|Publish Date:|| 2021-06-18
|Thesis type:||Master's thesis
Automation has been a part of the discussion regarding accounting already from the 1950’s (Keenoy 1958). Since then, the topic has evolved from physical automation to software-based solutions, often referred to as Robotic Process Automation, or RPA. Digitalization has laid the groundwork for companies to build automation on top of various processes. Companies are often seeing the most amount of data driven processes in their financial departments as argued by Kaarlejärvi & Salminen (2018). The vast amount of data has sparked a shift from old ways of working towards more smart processes through automation. The increase on the discussion around the topic of RPA in the context of financial administration has sparked an interest for this master’s thesis. This thesis aims to research the effects Finnish companies have encountered after implementing RPA in their financial processes.
The thesis will explain, in detail, the state of the current level of academic research and why financial processes are potential for automation now, and in the future. The thesis uses qualitative research methodology in the form of three semi-structured interviews tolook at three subject companies varied in size and operations on how RPA has benefited the financial processes. The empirical data of the thesis was gathered through remote interviews held with relevant personnel who have experience of RPA implementation. Once the data was gathered, it was transcribed and further coded to find out the most significant impacts RPA has had on the financial processes of companies. The results of the thesis will look at the net benefits achieved by the subject companies to answer the research question as suggested by DeLone & McLean 2003 theory to measure IS success. As presented by the 2003 theory, RPA implementation is looked from different points of view, being quality, usability & use, and the net benefits achieved.
The results of the study show how RPA can be used in different size companies to the advantage of accountants and other financial employees. The net benefits achieved through RPA are found positive, yet this study provides further considerations for RPA implementation in financial administration. The benefits of RPA can be found through in-house development of RPA as well as outsourcing software capable of running automated tasks. The key findings of this thesis are in line with existing studies, suggesting RPA is found to be most beneficial in the most routinized and laborious tasks. The results also pursue the importance of employee participation in the development process of RPA and the importance of change management by company manager’s when ramping up RPA usage. Ultimately, the thesis finds RPA implementation is net positive for both the organization and the individual the RPA influences.
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