New report reveals that automation is struggling to impress CFOs

automation-financeIt’s hard to dispute that automation is entering our organizations in any number of ways.  I’ve written previously, for instance, about the rise of automated trading, but equally, studies have suggested that when it comes to making decisions, executives continue to favor their gut instinct over hard data.

A recent report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) looks at the changing role of automation in the world of the CFO.

The robot CFO

The paper reveals that despite CFO’s often being risk averse, there is a growing trend for hiring automated support in a bid to provide a competitive edge.

“Robotics is evocative, it’s high-tech and most importantly, it is emblematic of what many see as the next natural step in the evolution of business process delivery. Namely fewer people in favour of intuitive, machine-based learning technologies,” the authors say.

“However, talking to finance leaders during our research, they are clearly not sure about the benefits of wholesale automation of this type. Many still can’t understand what it really means for finance,” they continue.

The report suggests that whilst the claims made by advocates of automation, the potential of significant reductions in cost levels have not thus far been enough to shift the needle in terms of adoption.

The authors reveal that this is largely due to a failure of vendors to adequately communicate the value they offer, beyond simply reducing headcount.  It’s a stumbling block that is likely to deter executives from adopting the technology on a large scale, for the time being at least.

A better sell

“When you build a value proposition for robotics in finance, you have to remember that this is not a product sale. You are selling a whole new way of working and it must be approached in this manner,” the authors say.

The kind of changes required to make automation effective will inevitably take time to implement, so it may be best to try and start at a low level first and then scale up when things are shown to work.

There is no shortage of desire to make things better, but for automation to help achieve that, the value proposition needs to be correctly communicated.

In that sense, the ball is very much in the vendors court.

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4 thoughts on “New report reveals that automation is struggling to impress CFOs

  1. It's an ego thing isn't it? People are paid big bucks because they're smart and should know stuff. If it gets farmed off to a computer, it's akin to a turkey voting for Christmas.

  2. If a process treats people like robots, no excuses, it should be automated. If such a process isn't automated, the process will degrade because people go crazy and act up if they are treated like robots for too long e.g. the Foxconn (Apple) factories in China. If automation is delayed losses could suddenly become quite painful!

    Bean counters need to pull their heads out of their spreadsheets and see that people are not robots and cannot be accounted for by linear mathematics. A lot of Psychology is not intuitive!

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