Half of CFOs are still doubtful about robotics

21 Sep 2018

Image: Tatiana Shepeleva/Shutterstock

Could it be a case of fail to automate, prepare to fail?

Half of finance organisations are failing to embrace robotics and automation and, as a result, run the risk of becoming irrelevant.

According to KPMG and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), automation is only being embraced by half of the 2,700 chief financial officers they surveyed.

‘The hesitation in embracing this technology lies in the knowledge of how it works’

Future Human

They found that many CFOs are still uncertain about how implementing robotic process automation can be applied to benefit their finance functions.

Number crunch or be crunched?

The report found that 50pc of CFOs say their companies had neither trialled nor implemented robotics, and 45pc still need to understand robotics before even thinking of implementing it.

“Although there is some uncertainty surrounding automation, CFOs understand for an organisation to gain a competitive advantage, they must embrace digital transformations for their respective businesses,” said ACCA chief executive Helen Brand.

“What we also found is, the hesitation in embracing this technology lies in the knowledge of how it works. 45pc of respondents say they want to understand exactly what it is, while 38pc admit it’s not currently their highest priority,” Brand said.

Her colleague, Rick Ellis, chief executive of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, said that applying robotics in the finance function is an opportunity for accounting professionals to free up their time from routine tasks and solely focus on what they do best: imparting trusted advice and adding value.

“The fact that the almost half of respondents who said they weren’t trialling or implementing robotics process automation cited it was because they didn’t know what is was exactly, shows us there is a huge knowledge gap around automation.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years