Original Research

The adoption of robotics in the auditing profession

Tebogo Sethibe, Evaashan Naidoo
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 24, No 1 | a1441 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v24i1.1441 | © 2022 Tebogo Sethibe, Evaashan Naidoo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2021 | Published: 10 February 2022

About the author(s)

Tebogo Sethibe, Department of Information Systems, Agriculture Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Department of Digital Business, Faculty of Management, Wits Business School, Johannesburg, South Africa
Evaashan Naidoo, Department of Digital Business, Faculty of Management, Wits Business School, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The auditing profession has been burdened with high costs and reputational damage resulting from false results because of a high dependency on manual tasks susceptible to errors or manipulation. Automating repetitive tasks with the use of robots can help minimise these errors to achieve efficiencies and cost reduction.

Objectives: This study adopted a Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model to determine the factors influencing organisations to use robotics technology when performing auditing activities.

Methods: The study was quantitative, using a survey consisting of 37 questionnaires and two semi-structured interview questions. The sample consisted of 59 professional auditors and 26 non-auditors involved in auditing in South Africa.

Results: The study results show that performance expectancy and facilitating conditions are key factors that influence the adoption of robotics in the auditing profession. A lack of training, data quality, and inadequate investment in robotics technology are mentioned as critical barriers to adopting robotics in auditing. Management support, good change management processes and technology skills are quoted as potential key enablers of robotics technology in the auditing profession.

Conclusion: The conclusion drawn from the study is twofold. Firstly, the performance management system and the business case for robotics in the auditing process should be linked to the tasks of auditors. Secondly, resources should be made available to support the use of technology in the profession. The study provides more insight into how leaders and management in the auditing profession could influence the adoption of robotics in auditing.


Keywords

adoption, auditing, automation, robots, technology acceptance model, theory of planned behaviour, theory of reasoned action, unified theory of acceptance, use of technology

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