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Robo-Accountants & digital transformation in the finance department

Finance functions and the accounting industry more broadly are on the cusp of a major transformational moment.

That’s the view of Paul Wensor, Partner, Consulting at Deloitte.

Automation, analytics and cloud computing are changing the role of the finance organisation, as well as the nature of work and skills needed to succeed in the job.

Finance organisations are increasingly adopting Robotic Process Automation to perform repetitive tasks and automate operating processes. To drive efficiencies, process robotics automates transaction processing and communication across multiple technology systems. Robots perform recurring processes just like humans, but with less risk of errors and fatigue.

Wensor said there is a lot concern that the rise of automation will mean fewer accounting jobs.

“Our view is that there’s probably more likely to be different jobs, not fewer jobs. The transition from what finance currently does to what finance will do in the future needs to be managed carefully,” he said.

In theory, automating manual parts of the finance function will leave staff with more time to work on the ‘so what?’ questions.

Finance functions eqipping themselves for the future are now looking for employees who are able to think critically and interpret data.

This goes hand in hand with the increase in organisations investing heavily in their data governance and analytics capabilities. For finance, the emphasis is on becoming more predictive and providing the rest of the business with data-driven commercial advice.

Wensor argues finance is well positioned to seize this opportunity, by combining financial data with operational data (which often sits in multiple silos) to provide insights back to the business.

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