A Fourth Industrial Revolution is underway globally, a digital revolution characterized by converging technologies that are blurring the lines between the physical, digital, biological, and industry sector spheres, while at the same time transforming client and employee expectations and experiences. Robotic process automation is a key technology in this digital disruption and transformation, and practitioners have already started using it to facilitate common compliance functions. For example, a PwC tax professional used an RPA tool to prepare and file return filing extensions during the 2019 tax filing season. Prior to RPA, the process required tax staff to prepare extensions using third-party applications, convert the extensions to PDFs, then submit them for review. Enabled by RPA, the bot takes a control sheet populated by the user with client information, enters that information in the third-party tax preparation software, and generates tax extension forms. Time trials performed by multiple users of the automation versus the manual process showed time savings of 70%.

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