January 26, 2024

CFOs Ask: With Automation, Will My Team Become Obsolete?

As automation continues to evolve and become more prevalent, it's natural for CFOs to wonder about the future of their teams. What can CFOs start doing to keep their team relevant and on the cutting edge?

As automation continues to evolve and become more advanced, it's natural for CFOs to wonder about the future of their teams.

One common question that springs up when finance leaders discuss automation is:

 

“Will my team become redundant?”

They have good reasons to be concerned.

As automation continues to evolve and become more advanced, it’s natural for CFOs to wonder about the future of their teams. The fear of redundancy is a common concern. However, it’s important to note that automation does not inherently render finance teams obsolete. Instead, it can help them become more valuable to their organisations. 

In our Harnessing The Power of Automation for Growth Webinar, Jaouad Rahou, the Finance Director of MDS Logistics addressed this. He explained that automation can free up more time for accountants to focus on more strategic and value-adding tasks such as analyzing data, providing insights, and making informed decisions. 

Citing his team as a case study, he stressed that finance teams should reevaluate and evolve. 

Below are some highlights from the webinar. 

Finance teams who operate only paper-based, manual processes will struggle in the future if they don’t start automating. 

It may not be easily obvious but manual processes can be costly to financial teams. Running everyday functions without automation could lead to increased errors and inaccuracies that compound with time. This will ultimately impact productivity.  

Switching to automation can forestall these issues and even enable better collaboration between finance and other departments, aiding data-driven decisions and alignment across the organization.

CFOs should therefore encourage their teams to embrace automation by providing training and resources to support the transition. 

One shouldn’t automate a system fraught with errors. Before you automate your systems, ensure the right processes and controls are in place. 

As the head of financial operations in an organization, a CFO should also consider the potential questions that may arise during the implementation of automation. It’s important to thoroughly assess the existing procedures and workflows to ensure a smooth transition.

Additionally, continuous monitoring and evaluation of automated processes are necessary to identify and address issues that may arise.

CFOs can leverage artificial intelligence (bots) to automate reporting.  

Business leaders require key data from the finance team to make informed decisions and data management is at the crux of modern-day financial operations. 

AI can significantly reduce the time and effort required for generating reports, enabling access to enhanced data accuracy and real-time insights. This not only increases efficiency but also improves the overall quality of financial reporting. 

If automation reduces man-hours, then we need to plan for it just as we do manpower. 

This speaks to the investments that need to be made for automation. If we agree that automation saves time and effort and helps finance teams streamline operations, it then makes good business sense to deploy resources to make it happen. 

A detailed analysis of the potential cost savings from automating finance processes can help CFOs make a winning case. For example, one of the speakers at the webinar described a scenario where his team saved three hours every week by automating an accounts payable process. That’s a whopping sixty hours weekly!

In summary, automation provides finance professionals the opportunity to upskill and adapt to new roles within the organization. It empowers finance teams to become more agile and proactive in driving business growth.

With the right mindset and training, finance professionals can thrive in this automated era and contribute to the success of their companies.

Watch the full video recording of the webinar here

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