Finance professionals must tech-up in the next three years or risk falling behind

Finance professionals must tech-up in the next three years or risk falling behind

Why 'Robots to steal 15 million of your jobs says bank chief' isn't quite right but workers do need to develop their skills

Over 50 percent of finance teams around the world say the skills of their teams must “change significantly” over the next three years to keep up.

A new study by CIMA has found that most finance professionals are not evolving and adapting fast enough to keep up with developments around AI, robotic process automation, and other new technologies.

Over 20 percent of finance tasks will become automated within three years according to 61 percent of the finance professionals surveyed.

There has already been some progress, with 55 percent of respondents having seen a move towards “somewhat” automated processes.

This said, hindsight reporting continues to make up 65 percent of a finance team’s reporting output, a notion that will change in the years to come.

What does the shift mean?

This move towards greater focus on digital means finance functions of businesses are evolving from being based on costs to being based on organisational value. Essentially this means that finance in a business will no longer be assessed on how much it costs to run but also on the added value it brings to the organisation and the community.

CIMA’s report references a Daily Mail article from 2016 about a speech by Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, titled ‘Robots to steal 15 million of your jobs says bank chief’.

It started a furor around the future of accountancy, and whether accountants would still have jobs in the years to come. People feared the whole profession would no longer need human workers.

This seemed extreme and, although accountants are no longer doing all of the tasks they used to because of automation, they are certainly still working in challenging and rewarding jobs. Their focus has simply shifted so they can focus more of strategy and advisory work.

The future of finance

There is an understandable fear of the unknown within us and, truth be told, we don’t know exactly what impact technology will have on the accountancy industry in the future.

However, if recent research is anything to go by, finance professionals will move more towards adding real strategic value to their organisations and advice to their clients, at least for now.

Andrew Harding, Chief Executive – Management Accounting said: “Technology is bringing us change at an unprecedented speed and scale. Organisations must constantly enhance their capabilities to seize new opportunities and remain viable.

“For finance professionals it is no different. The changing environment represents a huge opportunity for them to go beyond their core technical comfort zone and embrace emerging technologies as a way to deliver value across their organisations. However to rise to the challenge, they will need to hone new skills and competencies to stay employable and competent for a digital world.”

 

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