How the Robot Accountants Will Help

Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to bring significant transformation to companies’ accounting and finance functions, new research from staffing firm Robert Half suggests.

The area expected to benefit most is payroll, as predicted by 47% of CFOs in a Robert Half Finance & Accounting survey. More than 4 in 10 respondents (45%) believe budget and analysis will be affected as well.

Increased reliance on technology has had a positive impact on accounting and finance employees, according to 78% of senior financial managers polled for Robert Half’s Jobs and AI Anxiety report.

Its influence is also expected to generate a substantial gain in the number of jobs worldwide: According to the World Economic Forum, intelligent technologies could create a net 58 million new positions by 2022.

“AI presents a tremendous opportunity for companies to improve functions by reducing error and boosting efficiency,” said Steve Saah, executive director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting. “Implementing technology to address routine tasks also frees up employees’ time to take on strategic work that adds value to the business.”

Saah added, “Automation can create more opportunities for employees to engage in creative, collaborative, relationship-driven work, which is why we believe in technology as a job creator. As certain positions disappear, more new jobs are expected to surface, as has been the case with all waves of technology advancement over time.”  

Robert Half Finance & Accounting offers the following tips for managers to ease worker anxiety around new technology:  

Provide training. Take advantage of new technology by upskilling staff. Investing in professional development increases the department’s strength and the firm’s success.  

Deploy change management. As companies adopt emerging technologies, managers need to communicate to staff what’s being done and what it means for their jobs. Keep morale up by conveying key benefits of digital transformation. 

Offer stretch assignments. Remind workers of their value and leadership potential by engaging their talents in projects that encourage them to learn and build new skills.

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