How Technology Is Redefining Finance and Accounting Roles

It’s evident that technology is causing disruption in every industry — and finance and accounting professionals are not immune to these new innovations. According to Randstad Professionals’ whitepaper on Technology’s Impact on Finance and Accounting, robotics will automate or eliminate up to 40% of transaction accounting work by 2020. However, with the right approach, employees can work alongside technology to improve their work, and ultimately provide better recommendations for their clients and stakeholders.

The shift from traditional skills to being digitally dexterous is here and finance and accounting professionals must rise to the challenge in order to meet workplace expectations. Those who are eager to learn relevant skillsets will see technology serve as a tool rather than a hindrance in the following capacities:

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  • Big data paves the way for future strategy: Professionals no longer have to play the guessing game when predictive analytics are available. According to IBM, 90% of today’s data has been created in the last two years alone. Finance and accounting employees who become proficient in analyzing and making sense of data can better predict and implement business strategies for the future, helping clients achieve bottom-line goals through enhanced decision-making and forecasting abilities.
  • Cloud computing makes for more meaningful work: The cloud is quickly becoming the new infrastructure, enabling employees to share accounting and financial reports among coworkers, customers and other key stakeholders at any given time. Moreover, allowing the cloud to take on more tasks means finance and accounting experts can shed their roles as “number crunchers.” Cloud functions are now giving time back to workers to focus on their more strategic role – to serve as advisors and consultants.
  • FinTech allows a seamless customer experience: In today’s competitive landscape, progressive companies know the value of FinTech innovations when it comes to meeting consumers’ desires. A frictionless customer experience is making its way not only to physical banking locations, but also through mobile banking or peer-to-peer lending technologies. E-banking has transformed the way customers access their bank statements, transfer funds and ultimately improve the overall user experience. Technologies that simplify managing one’s assets reflect back to the experts who leverage intelligent machines in their company strategy.
  • New digital disruptions impact on profession: On the horizon are big transformations that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will have on the profession. While automation, cloud and big data were largely aimed at making transactional and other tasks easier, AI and machine learning will require accounting professionals to re-think business processes. These emerging technologies don’t just automate, they use algorithms to interpret data, make decisions and better predict outcomes. Areas such as, auditing, risk management, regulatory compliance and trend analysis all stand to benefit from AI and its machine learning capabilities. Given that machines can’t replace emotional intelligence (yet) — this is a key function and value that accounting professionals can and should deliver. Human interaction, interpretation of intangibles, explaining complicated tax forms or financial infrastructures, and knowledge application are all areas that can’t be duplicated by empirical data or machine learning.

The pace of technology is only going to increase and promises to deliver more over time. Its permanence is undeniable and employees who fail to embrace it will lose out on the benefits of innovation. Accounting and finance professionals need to begin future-proofing their career by learning, adapting and evolving your skills beyond those that are subject to automation. And, they need to start now.

To learn how to embrace technological disruption in a post-digital age, download Randstad Professionals’ latest whitepaper on Technology’s Impact on Finance and Accounting.

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Jodi Chavez

Jodi Chavez
Jodi Chavez is president of Randstad Professionals.

Jodi Chavez

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