Who minds the robots? Financial services and the need to control RPA risks

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With robotic process automation (RPA) becoming a prominent topic of discussion, financial institutions are thinking of ways to integrate digital labor into operations. While swift results can be enticing, firms should identify relevant risks and ask the right questions before diving into implementation. By doing the initial legwork, firms can position themselves for success. Streamlined processes and effective controls can help pinpoint issues early and ensure a positive return on investment.

Don’t wait for it to break

Implementing new technology is often a long and tedious process. This is why it’s so important to get all the steps right. RPA requires a structured controls approach to effectively address new issues that a financial institution may not have encountered before. Honing your focus on relevant risks and asking the right questions will ensure a successful RPA investment.

Risks to keep on the radar

The following five areas of risks are important to address:

  1. Executive: Have the right people bought in?
  2. Technical: How will testing work?
  3. Change management: Who manages communication?
  4. Operational: What controls exist to monitor performance?
  5. Functional: Who designs controls?

Questions to consider

Doing the initial legwork can save additional effort later. As you implement your RPA control framework, we encourage you to ask the following questions:

  1. How will you choose your projects?
  2. How will robots share?
  3. How do you configure robots?
  4. Who’s in charge?
  5. Are you in compliance?
  6. What about cybersecurity and data privacy?
  7. What’s the backup plan?
  8. Are you ready for change?

While controls may come as an afterthought in new process implementations, financial institutions can greatly benefit from effective control structures. Starting early ensures that implementation goes smoothly, and your business gets the most out of RPA.

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How PwC can help

Our teams in asset and wealth management, banking and capital markets, and insurance are helping our clients tackle the biggest issues facing the financial services industry. With professionals across tax, assurance, and advisory practices, we can help you find ways to thrive even in a period of uncertainty. Whether you're preparing for regulatory changes, putting FinTech/InsurTech to work, or rethinking your human capital strategy, we work together with you to deliver value to your business.

For more information on how PwC can help with RPA, reach out to one of our leaders below or explore our RPA services.

Contact us

Kevin Kroen

Partner, FS Advisory and Digital Labor/RPA Leader, PwC US

Kevin O'Connell

Trust and Transparency Solutions Client and Markets Leader, PwC US

Jenna Switchenko

Director, Risk Assurance, PwC US

Charles Centrelli

Director, FS Advisory, PwC US

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