Chartered Accountants Ireland partners with leading software provider UiPath to train students in Robotic Process Automation

Sep 17, 2019

Chartered Accountants Ireland (the Institute) has announced a new partnership with leading enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software firm UiPath, making the Institute the first professional accountancy body in the world to begin formal training and official examination of students in this area and equipping them for practical application to business.

NEWS BODY - 2019 Partners with UiPath to train students in Robotic Process Automation-min Pictured: Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe, TD with student Sarah Ryan of EisnerAmper and Supreeth Mohan of HLB Ryan. Back row (l-e): John Munnelly, Chartered Accountants Ireland; Ian Browne, Chartered Accountants Ireland; Conall O’Halloran President of Chartered Accountants Ireland; Eugene Hillery of Tableau and Michael Ellis of UiPath

From the end of September 2019, more than 1,300 students per year will begin to study and develop practical skills in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Data preparation and Data analytics, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies as part of a shake-up of the Institute’s education programme for final year students.

The development was welcomed by Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe, TD, who said, “Ireland has the potential to be a global leader and location for innovation in financial and technology services. I welcome the collaboration between Chartered Accountants Ireland and UiPath, Tableau and Alteryx to meet the evolving needs of Ireland’s financial services sector. This programme will ensure that as technology shapes the sector over time, Ireland will continue to have a talent pool of people skilled and available to business and industry.”

The move will create a new pipeline of highly skilled graduates ready to fill sought-after roles in industry and private practice, many of which did not exist five years ago as firms ramp up their own investment in new technologies to service client work with greater efficiency, accuracy and insight.

The move also follows consultation by the Institute with both member firms and students which revealed a demand for new training in what has emerged as significant growth areas alongside more traditional work such as audit – and an appetite among students to formalise their training in these areas in a practical way, future-proofing their employment prospects.

Currently, some 70% of the Institute’s graduates already work in industry as in-house advisors to some of the country’s largest technology, finance, aviation and energy companies. Employees skilled in new technologies are now in high demand.

Using data analytics to prepare accounts and present information in a more meaningful way, learning to deploy software robots that can tackle and streamline routine tasks, and being able to advise clients on cryptocurrency transactions and investments are among the skills that will be taught and examined, reflecting the change already happening on the ground in the business models of firms in industry and practice.

Commenting on one of the biggest evolutions of the Institute’s final-year syllabus in recent years, Institute President Conall O’Halloran said:

“Chartered Accountants Ireland is proud to be the first professional accountancy body worldwide to design and implement a RPA syllabus specifically for accountancy students. The role of accountants is changing, and businesses are embracing new technologies faster than ever. It’s vital that our students and future members are equipped to support businesses now and, in the years, to come.

“This time next year, our final year students will be in a variety of jobs and training roles where they can hit the ground running with newly acquired skills that are still not widely taught. They are now on the path to becoming future business leaders for the post-digital era. I’m confident that’s what this partnership will deliver – for our students, members and Ireland’s wider financial services industry.”

Ian Browne, Head of Assessment & Syllabus, Chartered Accountants Ireland, said: “We have created an entire new blueprint for the delivery of accountancy training in emerging technologies, and trademarked our assessment frameworks as part of the process. This change will equip a new generation of accountants with better tools to do their job and add value to businesses, employers and clients right away. Larger firms and organisations already moving in this direction will be able to recognise their own business models in the Institute’s new syllabus and training programme.

“It’s also really exciting when you consider the possibilities for small and medium-sized companies. This has the potential to democratise access to emerging technologies for a broader cross-section of companies over time, as more and more students graduate and enter the workforce with a range of organisations. It’s a genesis moment, and we’re looking forward to getting started and staying ahead.” 

The collaboration also represents an important milestone for UiPath, whose Sales Director UK and Ireland Michael Ellis commented: “We are delighted to have Chartered Accountants Ireland mark a first for the global finance industry and join our Automation Ready Workforce programme. A lot of attention and resources within UiPath are directed towards office workers upskilling and reskilling while automation and AI are reshaping the workplace.

It is part of our mission to embrace these changes responsibly, supporting every professional to be ‘automation ready’ and desirable for competitive employers. Our software robots have been assisting the accounting industry for several years already, improving efficiency, reducing costs and errors, and boosting employees’ morale.”

Among the global firsts and innovations for the Institute are:

  • Chartered Accountants Ireland is the first professional accountancy body to collaborate with Alteryx and Tableau, global leaders in data preparation and visualisation to develop a course specifically tailored for accountancy students.
  • It is also the first professional accountancy body to develop its own in-depth syllabus in the emerging technologies of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
  • Within the programme are also two entirely new leadership models, the Crypto Assessment Framework™ and the concept of the Collective Intelligent Accountancy™.

Chartered Accountants Ireland has over 27,000 members, two-thirds of whom work in industry in Ireland and overseas.

This is one of a number of initiatives intended to future-proof the profession and prepare the next generation of Chartered Accountants for the world of work in the post-digital age. In addition, a pilot e-assessment scheme is being trialled for first year students, where students will be able to sit Institute exams outside examination halls for the first time.


For Reference:

Karen Jones, Gibney Communications, 01 661 0402 / 086 866 4501