5th Annual RPA Challenge

On May 24th, 2023, the Foster School’s Masters of Professional Accounting held their 5th annual Robotic Processing Automation Challenge.  For those who are not familiar with RPA, it is a method of automating routine computer tasks so that a process that normally takes hours and hundreds of clicks, can happen in seconds.  To highlight this amazing technology now entering the Accounting industry, Prof Asher Curtis has his ACCTG 528 students form teams and compete for the coveted Golden Calculator Cup. For the challenge, each team develops an RPA solution to solve a common corporate task. This year’s winning team consisted of Emily Reid, Kylie Mayeda, Eli Student, Nate Ibrahim, Anthony Sullivan.

Prof Asher Curtis teaches RPA to his Spring Quarter ACCTG 528 class

To describe their winning bot, Nate Ibrahim explains: “Our RPA solution was to provide schedulers with an easy, bias free way to schedule employees for shifts. Through our bot, the only manual aspect of scheduling was for each employee to fill out the days and times they were free, and our bot would do the rest. It would make sure to evenly schedule regular staff and managers according to how they responded to be available and would self-correct if it created any duplicates in the schedule.”

Kylie Mayeda adds, “Creating a schedule can be a very tedious and a time-consuming task that someone is inevitably in charge of. We understood the importance of creating a schedule that met all the requirements such as ensuring a manager was there in every time slot. Additionally, we know that everyone has different availabilities, but it can be difficult to work around individual time conflicts when manually making a schedule. To help solve the problem, we created a bot that would take into consideration the different times people were available while also adhering to the staff and manager ratio requirements; turning a time consuming task into an efficient one.”

The winning team presents their bot: Emily Reid, Kylie Mayeda, Eli Student, Nate Ibrahim, Anthony Sullivan.

Will RPA change the world of Accounting?

Emily Reid says, “RPA has the potential to create time and cost savings in accounting through the automation of high-volume, repeatable tasks.”

Anthony Sullivan believes, ” ..it has a very high chance of optimizing a lot of industry and corporate accounting tasks as you can set up a bot with the same input that a corporation can easily get, and have the bot run over and over. Due to this repetitive nature, a UiPath bot can optimize operations which will help save costs in organizations.”

Kylie Mayeda agrees, “I think it will change the world of accounting in many positive ways. Certain tasks that accountants perform are extremely repetitive and time consuming. By using RPA, we can have these tasks done automatically with minimal human interaction. Not only does this save time and money, if the bot is coded correctly, it will also eliminate human errors.”

Prof Matt Van Winkel presents the Golden Calculator Cup to the winning team

Learn more about the specialized Master of Accounting programs at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.