We have a philosophy in the Tech and Business and Management Faculties that we want to learn from the best, and our international collaborative projects enable us to do that. We went to China to learn about big data and the internet of things, to Singapore to learn about fintech, and now we are collaborating with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in India (ICAI) to find out more about automation in finance functions.
We have looked at automation, and RPA in particular, in the last few years, but a consistent comment from UK-based finance functions is that they often don’t have the scale and volume of transactions to justify heavy investment in automation technologies. Instead, that work has been outsourced and/or frequently off-shored to India and other countries. So, when we had the opportunity to develop a collaborative research project with ICAI, automation jumped out as an interesting topic where we could learn from large, transaction-based finance activity in India.
This week, a high-level delegation from ICAI visited Chartered Accountants’ Hall to sign a new Memorandum of Understanding with ICAEW for deeper co-operation between the two bodies. Therefore, we took the opportunity to do some initial knowledge-sharing with a joint roundtable. A small number of ICAEW members and contacts talked through their current experience with automation, and we had some findings and case studies based on the research done to date in India.
While we are still in early stages of the research, a few points stood out to me in the discussions:
The research will continue over the coming months and we hope to have a report in the first half of 2020. You can see a picture of the delegation for the MOU signing below.