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More than nine in ten finance and accounting professionals (92 per cent) are optimistic about increased automation in the profession, according to new research from Renaix, the international recruitment consultancy for finance and accounting.
The study, which questioned over 200 finance and accounting professionals, reveals that 81 per cent are seeing their role impacted by emerging technologies, such as advanced data analytics (63 per cent), cloud computing (42 per cent), robotics (17 per cent) and artificial intelligence (15 per cent). This increases to more than nine in ten (94 per cent) who believe these technologies will impact their role in the next five years.
Yet, despite the increasing role of technology, only 12 per cent of those questioned believe their job will be completely automated within the next five years, with most seeing new tools as an opportunity rather than threat. Two thirds (69 per cent) say automation will enable them to be more efficient, over half (59 per cent) say it will allow them to add greater value to clients and 40 per cent say it will reduce the amount of transactional work they’re involved in.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges, with more than half (59 per cent) of respondents having to learn new skills to keep up with technological developments, with data analytics (54 per cent), soft skills (54 per cent) and working with new technologies (51 per cent) coming top of the list.
Many are also worried about skills shortages over the coming years, particularly in data analytics (52 per cent), STEM (science, technology, engineerin and maths – 42 per cent), and soft skills (31 per cent). Furthermore, a quarter (25 per cent) of those questioned say their employer still isn’t investing in upskilling the finance function to work with new technologies.
Paul Jarrett, Managing Director at Renaix, comments: “Emerging technologies are set to transform the finance and accounting sectors, with many professionals already feeling the impact on their day-to-day responsibilities. And it’s encouraging to see that, far from being intimidated or threatened by these new ways of working, the majority of professionals are excited and optimistic, believing automation will improve and expand their role in the coming years.”