How automation will bring finance teams closer together in future

By Matt Weston, UK Managing Director, Robert Half


Worried that automation will jeopardise your future in finance? New research suggests you have nothing to worry about and plenty to gain.

Here’s how automation is set to change finance team dynamics and hiring for the better.

Why automation is good for finance

A world-wide survey of CFOs showed that automation is predicted to bring teams closer together and improve group dynamics. The research, conducted for the Robert Half Salary Guide, showed that 66% of CFOs expected an increase in team collaboration and 63% thought that team innovation would improve. Communication was also expected to improve according to 57% of finance leaders, followed by enhanced team spirit (45%).

These changes could be attributed to automation’s ability to remove repetitive, time-consuming tasks, freeing professionals and allowing them to pursue more value-added work, such as planning, strategy and creative problem solving. These are all typically tasks which require a higher level of communication and co-operation between colleagues.

Transactions and data processing can be completed at greater speeds when automation is used. As the pace of work accelerates, teams will need to learn to work in a more agile way, actioning data insights far faster than before. This places more emphasis on team resilience and communication.

The effect of automation on the finance hiring market

Automation is set to change the future of hiring for the finance sector, but not in the way you might think. Although hiring managers will be looking for professionals with digital skills and a proficiency in certain programmes, its soft skills they’ll be paying particular attention to.

Finance leaders are looking for professionals who have characteristics which suit a more collaborative, innovative and dynamic working environment.

When asked which skills they’d be hiring for, 28% said they wanted candidates who were open to new ideas, 26% wanted those open to change and 19% were looking for excellent communication skills.

This can be attributed back to the benefits that finance teams will see from the automation of certain tasks and processes: faster working environments, more creative-based tasks and agile working.

The predicted final outcome

Hiring finance professionals with the appropriate soft skills is just the tip of the iceberg when creating a company culture that suits automation. In the future, these values will also need to be instilled in current employees, with appropriate upskilling offered to professionals who don’t have the digital knowledge that new systems require.

In the future, the removal of repetitive work may also lead to higher levels of employee happiness. Research shows that employees are happiest at work when they’re given the opportunity to engage in meaningful work which continues to challenge them. The result will ultimately be a longer tenure and higher productivity from finance employees.