UK finance businesses slow to adopt AI technology

UK finance businesses slow to adopt AI technology

Only 4% of 600 finance professionals assessed have implemented AI systems in their workplace but what is preventing us from using AI at work?

The number of UK finance professionals working with AI must increase if businesses are to remain competitive, according to recent research.

The survey, by Reed Accountancy and Finance, found that out of 600 finance professionals who responded only 4% of businesses have implemented AI systems in their workplace.

Reed asked finance professionals about their use of AI at work as part of its #BigQuestion initiative.

Despite such a small number of finance professionals actually using AI, 32% say they think it will improve the productivity and efficiency of accounting roles by being able to report and summarise accounts.

Almost half of survey respondents, 47%, feel enthusiastic about AI in the workplace and willing to embrace new technology.

However, there is still widespread concern that AI developments will lead to job losses, with over a third, 35%, believing it will cause more cost cutting and redundancies.

Rob Russell, director of Reed Finance, said: “Robo-enabled professional services are certain to be key in the future, and will become more prevalent in the work place over the next few years. The capabilities of AI will allow organisations to increase efficiency and work to capacity, whilst also relieving employees of simple administration duties. To keep competitive in the UK and across the globe businesses must invest in AI.

“In order to be successful, it’s important for organisations, and employees, to embrace this change, as opposed to fearing it. Whilst AI and robotics will naturally replace some roles, it’s important to remember that more roles will be created.

“Humans will always be required to operate this innovative and complex technology. Finance professionals can future-proof their skills by focusing upon business partnering and developing commercial value.”

What’s preventing businesses using AI?

It’s not as simple as just using AI more. Businesses have a number of hurdles to overcome and considerations to think about before adopting it.

One of these is consumer preferences. AI is still a relatively new concept to the public, and research has revealed certain areas of AI that humans still feel uncertain about.

For instance, a recent Nesta study found that more people would happy to sit in a driverless car than to completely get rid of cash payments so all money would be digital.

Cost could also be barrier. While the prices of robotics are falling by the day, a lot of the technology is still unaffordable for many organisations and they will be waiting until the prices fall further before purchasing.

In a wider context, ethical and legal dilemmas also come in to play with AI. From privacy concerns because robots can harvest large amounts of data to discrimination to issues around authenticity, as lifelike AI could threaten real human relationships.

Russell added: “With such optimism surrounding AI in the workplace, there is a trend of ‘building while the sun is shining’. We’re seeing the businesses we’re working with preparing to invest in new technology, systems and machinery to future-proof their organisation. No one wants to be left behind.”

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