The CFO’s Approach to Emerging Technology & AI
More and more people today are becoming concerned with being replaced by a robot. CFO’s and Financial Managers are starting to consider making investments into automated software to enter credits and debits instead of adding a trained accountant to their team.
Srikant Sastry, managing principal at Grant Thornton, says professional bookkeepers shouldn’t worry. “We are always going to need accountants. But, technology is going to change the way CFOs build their teams and what responsibilities [they] are going to take on.”
Grant Thornton recently released their 2018 CFO Insights on New Technologies survey. According to the survey, “more than two-thirds (69 percent) of [the] executive respondents plan to increase their investment in digital transformation over the coming year.”
An Evolving Point of View
According to Sastry, the biggest takeaway from the study is that there is an increased focus among CFOs on all technological advances. The results “really reflect the evolving mindset of CFOs” of remaining in a strong business position requires a focus on the evolving tools and software available to businesses.
Top new technological investments identified by CFO’s in the survey include:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Machine Learning
- Advanced Analytics
- Distributed Ledger Technology (Blockchain)
As tools and technology change at more rapid pace, 20 percent of CFO survey respondents claimed likely adoption and investment in financial artificial intelligence in the upcoming five years. Sastry believes that “AI is going to radically change how accounting and auditing are done” because of the acceleration in agility and veracity that AI will allow.
Hiring & Utilizing Accounting Staff
Opportunities from new tech systems in the bookkeeping & CPA industries are balanced by a company’s current and future staff. Sastry asked in his interview, “What happens to the current staff, what staff is required going forward?”
“I think CFOs are going to continue to hire accountants who know the best ways to use a pip calculator. But at the same time, they will have to think about how they are going to build their teams.” Sastry said. “They will be looking for multifaceted people, more analytical people, and people with a technology background. They will want to build more blended teams.”
Most CFO’s surveyed (52%) responded to indicate they intend to keep current staff and team members and retrain them to work with the technologies of the future. Versatile, cross-trained employees will help to create dynamic departments and teams that can whether future changes more efficiently and readily. “People need to be more open to disruption and think about how technology is going to add value to their day-to-day work. When there is a change, you need to embrace the change and not have the change surprise you,” Sastry added.
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