What’s the effect of technology in finance? And what will the finance profession look like in the near future?
Traditionally, accountants and those in the finance profession have had to face a large number of manual tasks and administrative duties. In fact, one of the most recurrent problems mentioned by accountants is chasing clients for information.
But now, technology is removing many of these dull day-to-day tasks and addressing many of the most typical problems that finance professionals have typically had in the last few years.
Secure cloud-based portals are making it easier to collect information. A recent study by CaseWare found that over half (56%) of those surveyed think it is very easy or easy to collect data from clients.
And when it comes to data sharing and collaboration, sharing documents securely with colleagues working remotely or in the same office is becoming very easy.
The skills of the finance professional
Most importantly, as technology develops, so does the role of the finance professional. CaseWare’s study has found that finance professionals expect artificial intelligence (34%), cloud computing (31%) and mobile accounting (28%) to have the most impact in the next five years.
Even technology like blockchain, which many thought would never impact accountancy, will shortly start to be used for leases and invoices and embedded in practical applications.
Technology will change many aspects of the day to day job role of finance teams, for instance, by automating bank reconciliation with real-time data feeds. These technologies will create a more automated working environment that presents new opportunities for finance professionals to do more specialised work and learn new skills.
With the shift from manual processes to a more automated environment that allows finance teams to offer added value services, such as client advisory, some of the most important skills for those working in the finance and accounts function will be accuracy and financial forecasting.
Although still very important, the need for analytical skills will drop slightly in the next few years as technology brings more automation to the profession.
For our most recent study, we asked more than 1,000 UK finance professionals about the new opportunities open to them through technology, and whether they are facing new technology with optimism or concern.
The results shed light on the state of technology awareness, the pace of new technology adoption and its effect in the attitudes of finance teams in the UK.