A survey conducted by Ernst and Young says 8 out of 10 finance and accounting professionals currently are not equipped to meet the demands of their jobs in the next 10 years. Like most of the industries, finance and accounting professionals do not seem to be immune to technological disruptions. Robotics is likely to automate most of the processes, thus eliminating up to 40 percent of traditional accounting work by 2020, according to Randstad.
The accelerating speed of technological transformation is the most creative force and the most destructive one as well. Though financial institutes are trying to catch up with the advances, there seems to be a gap in its implementation.
Here are a few factors to understand why the gap is widening and how HR professionals can ensure that their employees are skilled enough to keep up in an age of big data and IoT.
Key competencies in the digital age
Job requirements of finance and accounting professionals have changed from mundane bookkeeping to critical financial analysis and risk management. The key lies in understanding and adapting the transition from traditional accounting practices to strategic advisors. Big Data and artificial intelligence might have seemed like a distant dream but now these technologies are directly impacting job performance, and to succeed, the new business environment professionals must acquire these skills. Finance is the key to future business, and hence, it is quite crucial for professionals to feed the right food to access data and help companies compete with recent market trends.
The need is for financial and accounting professionals to manage, analyse, and extract value from data, to apply analytical and evaluative thinking skills to address strategic issues, and identify the most valuable questions Big Data can answer. These technologies will enable professionals to use years of accumulated data and predict the future. Strategic planning, competitive moves, and innovation can be pre-planned and programmed in advance ensuring maximum outcome and helping organizations envision a great future. Before the rise of Big data and other data automation technologies 84 percent invoices were processed as a fax, paper document or email attachment, states a report by Paystream Advisors.
Preparing for the future
The future role of accounting and finance may be still evolving; many things have become clear. The need to develop data governance, data query, data analytics, and data visualization to provide insight and foresight rather than just serving the traditional roles of providing hindsight and oversight are becoming more crucial than ever. Data scientists can smoothly modulate repetitive activities, rule-based execution, and optimization. However, it is next to impossible to design a model that is creativity, trustworthy, innovative, and natural to imply. Professionals need to be fluent in the business language, analytics, and technology and work coherently with data scientists and technology specialists to become the crucial link between volumes of data and business leaders and deliver great insights.
Robotic automation will enhance the value of services and offer efficiency in providing time to finance and accounting professionals to adjust to the current situation and anticipate future needs. Modern automation software cuts costs to the company, increases productivity and handles more processing volume with fewer miscalculations as compared to human errors. Auditing, risk management, regulatory compliance and trend analysis are a few areas that will benefit from AI and its machine learning capabilities. The cloud is becoming the new infrastructure for many by enabling employees to share accounting and financial reports among co-workers and stakeholders.
Keeping an open eye and mind for further advances in technology is vital as these processes and inventions will soon take over many responsibilities and change the functioning of many organizations. To stay compatible with these advances, it is important to understand the market and be prepared for any possible disruptions.
Technology promises to deliver and solve several challenges. It is here to stay and change many processes like auditing, transaction processing, and financial accounting forever. It is time to keep up with the innovations to enjoy the benefits. Employees who fail to embrace it would miss the opportunity of appreciating its permanence that is undeniably changing the way we work. Finance and accounting were ruled by traditional practices and are less known for agility and adaptability. However, there is no denying their dedication to serve the public interest.
Automation is a wake-up call for many professions and an indication that we all need to polish and enhance our skills continually in a fast-evolving world to stay relevant, influential, and inspiring. It is better to pace quicker than the speed of technological advances and build new competencies in critical thinking, innovation, advanced data analytics and data visualization.
Few experts predict the future as a hybrid approach where advanced technology would comfortably sit along with human advisors to provide businesses the best of both worlds — unparalleled data analysis combined with the human touch. Learning, adapting and evolving your skills will future-proof your career.