U.S. CEOs are expressing more comfort with rapid, technology-driven change, and are automating back-office functions in finance and accounting, a KPMG survey has found.

Automating repetitive accounting tasks can free finance professionals to play a more strategic role, Claudia Saran, principal at KPMG, said in the survey report.

“Smart organizations are working with employees to alter their perception of technology — to think of it as a colleague that allows you to focus on more interesting and value-added work,” Saran said of the use of artificially intelligent technology in organizations. “You can do more, you can be more productive, and you can use the power of these technologies to get a jump on the competition.”

Saran noted that the skills needed for accounting professionals to transition to strategic advisors are different than that traditional skills learned during and accounting education. The survey found that six out of ten companies plan to invest in workforce training over the next three years.

Additionally, nearly three quarters of the 400 CEOs surveyed said they are actively pursuing technology disruption in their own sectors, rather than waiting for competitors to do it. A year ago, two-thirds of CEOs in the KPMG survey admitted concern that their organizations were not disrupting business models in their industry.

To read the full CEO Outlook report from KPMG, click here.

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