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Finance teams lack skills to support digital transformation

Andrew Harding, chief executive at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Finance teams are missing the digital skillsets to embrace the latest advancements in artificial intelligence, causing a negative impact on revenue growth, according to a study from the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and software vendor Oracle.
The study of more than 700 global finance leaders found that despite a clear correlation between the deployments of AI and revenue growth, 89% of organizations have not deployed AI in the finance function and only 10% of finance teams believe they have the skills to support the organization’s digital ambitions.
The report, titled Agile Finance Unleashed: The Key Traits of Digital Finance Leaders, highlighted that 46% of tech-savvy finance leaders report positive revenue growth, compared with only 29% of tech-challenged leaders. Furthermore, organizations that have seen revenue growth are more likely to be deploying artificial intelligence compared to those where revenues are flat or declining. However, only 11% of finance leaders surveyed have implemented artificial intelligence in the finance function, and 90% say their finance team does not have skills to support enterprise digital transformation.
“Businesses are missing out on huge growth potential by failing to give finance teams the tools and training they need to make better corporate decisions,” said Andrew Harding FCMA, CGMA, chief executive of management accounting at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “Cloud and emerging technologies like AI and blockchain drive efficiency and improve insight and accuracy, enabling finance leaders to step into a more strategic role in the business and improve the organization’s data-driven decision making. To make the most of these new technologies, finance teams need to simultaneously evolve the competencies of their staff in areas such as analytical thinking, decision-making and business partnering.”
“For me, robotic process automation, advanced analytics, and machine learning are three legs of the same stool,” said John Merino, chief accounting officer at FedEx. “The combination of those technologies and the ability to deliver them in an agile manner without long lead times and extensive interface complexities creates a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on some really big efficiency gains in virtually every staff function. The big win for us is to liberate that time and move finance up the value chain in what it delivers to the organization.”

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