As the developed world continues to thrive on technological innovation, nearly every industry is becoming further entrenched in the digital age. Even traditional fields such as Finance and Accounting are not immune to change, with advances in AI and big data altering decades-old processes. With 69% of CFOs believing digitalization will fundamentally change the Finance leader role, the future of Finance and Accounting is set to see the biggest changes since the invention of the computer.
Fintech Spending Skyrockets
It takes money to drive innovation, and investment in financial technology (Fintech) is over $22 billion and growing rapidly. This massive sum proves that many are finding tremendous value in the efficiency that new technology promises. A large push for new tech in Finance and Accounting has the power to revolutionize the field and improve many functions. It will change the way organizations operate as well as alter the responsibilities of those that work for them.
Big Data and Automation Will Cause Role Shifts
A vast amount of data passes through organizations every day and it’s Finance and Accounting roles that will be tasked with making sense of it. Interpreting information will require Finance professionals to have broader skill sets that include some IT knowledge as well as risk assessment experience. At this point CFOs understand that big data must be embraced or they risk being left behind, and they will expect their teams to have the knowledge to support modern efforts. Advanced data analytics and forecasting will support strategic decisions and provide better information to stakeholders and this is where the focus will turn.
Using data, robotic process automation and AI have the ability to improve consistency and quality, reduce error rates and costs, and automate key processes. 65% of Finance leaders view such technology as a significant priority and adoption is inevitable. As new tech begins to take over more routine or administrative tasks, supporting data-driven decisions will become the top job responsibility for many roles. Those who are able to collaborate with IT departments and contribute to strategic direction will be the most highly-desired talent in the field.
Technology can be a double-edged sword. With increased reliance on and usage of new tech comes the increased concern of security. As more data is housed digitally, that data becomes at risk of being compromised, stolen, or taken hostage. Leaving automated programs to run unsupervised invites hackers to take the reins. Cybersecurity will become a bigger priority than ever for those in Finance and Accounting and being proactive will prove essential to reaping the benefits of digitalization and not the dangers.
Blockchain Adoption Increases
If there’s one superstar technology in the Finance and Accounting industry right now, it’s blockchain. At its core, blockchain is a digital ledger or database that can accept inputs from different parties. Changes to the ledger can only happen with consensus from a group of servers and cannot be tampered with, thereby increasing security and eliminating the need for a sluggish central authority to approve transactions.
This technology is set to transform many industry norms for the digital age by improving transparency and streamlining processes with the potential for much more. Investment in this area is quickly increasing; $2.31 billion is expected to be spent on blockchain technology by 2021. Previously-frustrating activities such as waiting for books to close, delays in the reconciliation of payments, and becoming insolvent in between transactions will become a thing of the past.
Hiring Difficulties Will Increase
Technology is typically developed to make life easier or solve a problem and that mentality is no different for advancements affecting the Finance and Accounting field. Each invention or new piece of software improves a function and is music to the ears of any CFO. However, the increased usage of new tech will create several hiring difficulties in the industry.
Regardless of AI, big data, automation, or blockchain, it takes knowledgeable talent to interact with and make actual use of these technologies. In other words, people will continue to be the essential part of continued organizational health and success. It is already difficult to find top Finance and accounting talent and skills related to digitalization within the cream of the crop are rare. As these technologies spread, more people will gain the necessary experience that the modern industry demands. However, that will take time, and will leave many business leaders struggling to find the Finance and Accounting talent that can spearhead their digitalization efforts in the first place.
What Digitalization Means for the Future of Finance & Accounting
With so much investment and interest in growing technologies, the changes that digitalization will bring to the Finance and Accounting industry are a foregone conclusion. To avoid getting passed by competitors, the only option is to be proactive and quickly embrace new processes and strategies. That begins by hiring the best people that can drive your organization forward down the digital age highway.
If you’re looking to hire Finance and Accounting pros ready for the next era of the industry, let us know today.
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