Finance Pros Need to Improve Skills to Adapt to Tech

Most finance teams and professionals are not evolving their skills fast enough to account for the impact of artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and other technologies according to a new report released by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).

The report revealed that a majority (over 50 percent) of finance leaders globally believe the competencies of their teams must “change significantly” over the next three years as new technologies take over traditional tasks. The upside: businesses expect a stronger focus on value creation with the automation of repetitive tasks. Expertise in areas such as data analytics, cyber risk management and business models will facilitate the shift. Supporting this will also be the need for a shift in mind-set to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn new skills to deal with complexity and operating in an increasingly agile environment.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • 61 percent of finance professionals expect over 20 percent of finance tasks will be automated in next 3 years.
  • Over half (55 percent) have already seen a move toward ‘somewhat’ automated processes.
  • Yet hindsight reporting, for instance, still makes up 65 percent of a finance team’s report outputs.

The report is based on insights from a study of more than 5,500 finance professionals across 2,000 organizations in 150 countries. The study was conducted by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association), the global member organization formed by members of the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

“Technological advancements such as cloud computing, robotic process automation and AI are radically changing our world and the way business is conducted,” said Ash Noah, CPA, CGMA and managing director of CGMA Learning, Education & Development at the Association. “For finance professionals, this means there is an imperative to move beyond their comfort zones to develop digital intelligence to meet the new demands of business.”

The research released complements additional research launched this month by the AICPA, CIMA and Oracle, which found that 90% of finance leaders do not believe their teams have the skills to support an organization’s digital transformation and help the business to grow and make better corporate decisions.

To help finance professionals develop the skills and competencies to future-proof their careers, the AICPA offers a library of learning tools and leading-edge resources focused on technology. They include:

  • The updated Charted Global Management Accountant (CGMA) Competency Framework, which provides employers and professionals with a roadmap to identify the necessary skills and competencies and assess where there are gaps. The updated framework includes a new area of digital skills to the four core existing knowledge areas of technical, business, leadership and people skills.
  • TheCGMA Finance Leadership Program, which offers an on-demand, personalized learning journey to guide finance professionals to develop a mastery of the technical, business, leadership and people skills required for business today. The program will be updated later this year with learning to help finance professionals enhance their digital skillset.
  • TheGo beyond+ disruption learning series, which includes certificate programs, courses, webcasts and podcasts in areas such as blockchain, data analytics, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics process automation and more.
  • TheHuman Intelligence Series, which includes a new e-book and library of videos to help professionals develop must-have competencies such as people management and decision-making.

Re-inventing finance for a digital world

Source: CPA Practice Advisor

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