In recent years, technology has made its way into more finance departments, and roles that were previously manual and people-based, are slowly being taken over by machines. For accountants and finance professionals, the prospect of losing their role to machines is a scary one…but is it warranted? Is it reasonable to think that in a few years’ time, the finance function will no longer require humans? Let me explain why I’m not so sure this is the case.
It’s true that in recent years we have seen many technological innovations being introduced into the finance function. In fact, “The DNA of the CFO 2016” study found that 47 percent of CFOs say their current finance function doesn’t have the right mix of capabilities to meet the demands of future strategic priorities. So, it’s clear to see why technology was introduced in the first place. Some of the areas I which technology has helped streamline the purchasing, invoicing and approvals processes is through e-invoicing and accounting software, but despite this, there is still lots to be desired, and that’s where real people can feel worried about technology.
Although terms like ‘machine learning’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ do sound like a sci-fi horror out to get every accountant and finance professional’s jobs, it’s not all doom and gloom. For accountants and finance professionals to ensure their status as financial leaders stay intact (or be established at all) they need to embrace the technologies that scare them and become the educator and the experts. After all, without people, software wouldn’t know where to begin. It’s may seem daunting to get to know anything and everything about these new technologies, and truth be told, not every business is going to start implementing these new technologies overnight. But equally, this is not the time to relax and push this down on your agenda.
By becoming the experts and educators of the innovative new software and systems out there, accountants and finance professionals lead the finance industry from the front. By doing this, the role of people in finance doesn’t disappear, it merely evolves. So, by all means, embrace technology in your finance department or practice, but make sure you know it inside out and become a more valuable asset to your company through what the software, and you, can achieve.