Australian CFOs plan to hire more robots and automate the office

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The robot is on is way to the finance department.

A survey of Australia’s CFOs has found almost half (46%) plan to
expand their permanent staff headcount to help implement their
company’s finance digitisation and automation efforts over the
next 12 months.

The research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half
found 86% of CFOs agree workplace automation will not cause a
loss of jobs, but a shift in required skills is needed.

The top skills finance professionals need to focus on as a result
of automation are: problem-solving (56%), strategic vision (46%),
commercial acumen (44%) and communication (37%).

The research shows CFOs expect more jobs to be created than
replaced by automation.

More than one in three (36%) CFOs are planning to create new
roles for temporary or contract professionals over the next year.

David Jones, of Robert Half Asia Pacific, says automation within
Australian workplaces is not about destroying jobs but adapting
to change, which in turn leads to opportunities.

“The modern day business demands diverse skillsets, resources and
assets which will equip companies to be able to respond quickly
and flexibly to challenges like automation and digitisation,” he
says.

“Not only will companies need to bring in additional expertise to
lead this change, they will also need to focus on staff training
to ensure their work forces have the adequate skills to leverage
the benefits brought by existing and future technology.

“Finance professionals will need to develop skills that
complement and leverage the capabilities of automation, rather
than simply hand over control. More advanced technology requires
additional, well-developed skills, such as advanced data
analysis, interpretation skills, and decision-making skills.”

Jones says automation may diminish some routine manual role but
it will lead to faster decision making, reduce the risk of
errors, and eliminate stresses associated with laborious
task-management responsibilities.

“Australian businesses are operating in a time of rapid
transition, where adaptability will be key to surviving the
disruptive effects of automation and digitisation for both
companies and their staff,” he says.

“It’s becoming increasingly apparent that people must find ways
to combine their own skills with the capabilities of technology –
not only to drive better results for businesses in a highly
competitive landscape, but also to further their own careers.”

The annual study was conducted in January this year for Robert
Half by an independent research firm, surveying 160 Chief
Financial Officers and Finance Directors in Australia.

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