To fulfill banks’ and financial firms’ regulatory obligations, Compliance functions often go through repetitive, multi-step processes to navigate complex technology application architectures.  Accenture’s 2016 Compliance Risk Study, “Compliance at a Crossroads: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?”, found that 73% of surveyed Compliance officers agree that process automation, including increased use of robotics, will be a key enabler for improved use of resources in Compliance within the next 3 years.1

As Compliance officers continue to explore solutions to improve their day-to-day operations, robotic process automation (RPA) has emerged as a cost-effective solution to help organizations capture greater efficiencies through the automation of highly manual processes and workflow.

What is RPA?

RPA structures computer software to capture process actions, such as transactions and data manipulation, to trigger responses and communication with other digital systems.2 RPA employs “robots” to mimic the steps of a rules-based, non-subjective process, operating other application software through the RPA user interface that uses structured digital input. This is done without compromising the existing IT infrastructure.3

What are the potential benefits of RPA?

By applying RPA to existing processes, organizations can reap benefits across multiple dimensions:

  • Productivity: Increased productivity with the potential to operate 24/7 and with fewer FTEs dedicated to completing repetitive tasks
  • Auditability: Greater visibility and auditability of transactions, leading to better control of integrated processes
  • Costs: More efficient management of seasonal demand supported by the cost-effective implementation of virtual resources at a fraction of the cost of an FTE
  • Quality: Improved consistency of quality without human input
  • Employee Satisfaction: Higher staff satisfaction by eliminating monotonous tasks and allowing employees to focus on higher value work

Where can RPA be applied within compliance organizations?

Candidate processes for RPA are identified by conducting preliminary assessments, using a set of process, technology and risk feasibility criteria.  Target processes for robotics opportunities typically feature the following characteristics:

  • Highly manual
  • High volume
  • Rule-based/no human judgment
  • Low exception volume
  • Digital data
  • Infrequent changes in process steps and rules
  • High likelihood of human error

The high volume and rules-based nature of Compliance reviews make many of its processes candidates for RPA. Below are examples of Compliance processes that may employ RPA:

  • Employee Compliance: Control Room, Licensing and Registration, Gifts and Entertainment, Personal Account Dealings and Outside Affiliations and Private Investments
  • Surveillance: eCommunications and Social Media Surveillance, Trade and Sales Practice Surveillance and Monitoring and Testing
  • Financial Crime: Know Your Customer (KYC), Customer Due Diligence (CDD), Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD), Transaction Surveillance and Authentication

RPA is more than a technology trend. It supports businesses and Compliance functions in their efforts to capitalize on the strengths of humans and machines to solution, deliver and manage business processes. As organizations rotate to the new and the digital revolution gains momentum, humans and machines are expected to quickly find themselves working side-by-side, and RPA offers businesses a foundational platform for embracing both as critical team members.


  1. “Compliance at a Crossroads: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?” – Accenture’s 2016 Compliance Risk Study,” Accenture 2016. Access at:
  2. “What is Robotic Process Automation?,” Institute for Robotic Process Automation. Access at:
  3. Ibid


Newsletter Author: Samantha Regan, Robimon Varughese, Andrew Ng

Newsletter Contact Person: Nghi Pham

Visit for latest insights on regulatory remediation and compliance transformation.


This blog is intended for general informational purposes only, does not take into account the reader’s specific circumstances, may not reflect the most current developments, and is not intended to provide advice on specific circumstances. Accenture disclaims, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, all liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information in this blog and for any acts or omissions made based on such information. Accenture does not provide legal, regulatory, audit or tax advice. Readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel or other licensed professional.

About Accenture:

Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions—underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network—Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With more than 373,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Its home page is

Copyright © 2016 Accenture. All rights reserved.

Accenture, its logo, and High Performance Delivered are trademarks of Accenture. This document is produced by Accenture as general information on the subject. It is not intended to provide advice on your specific circumstances.

If you require advice or further details on any matters referred to, please contact your Accenture representative.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *