Finance pros must 'significantly' advance tech skills, says CIMA report

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Finance professionals aren't adapting quickly enough to new technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation and must do so over the next three years, according to a new report from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

The report, "Re-inventing finance for a digital world," polled more than 5,500 finance professionals across 2,000 public and private businesses of various sizes in 150 countries. The report found that more than 50 percent of polled global finance leaders believe their staff members' technical knowledge must “change significantly” in the next three years in order to stay knowledgeable. In turn, professionals will be able to create more value for their clients, leaving repetitive actions to new software and automation.

The report advises professionals to focus on topics such as data analytics and cyber risk management, with the "mindset to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn new skills to deal with complexity and operating in an increasingly agile environment."

“Technology is bringing us change at an unprecedented speed and scale. Organizations must constantly enhance their capabilities to seize new opportunities and remain viable," stated Andrew Harding, chief executive of management accounting at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. “For finance professionals it is no different. The changing environment represents a huge opportunity for them to go beyond their core technical comfort zone and embrace emerging technologies as a way to deliver value across their organizations. However, to rise to the challenge, they will need to hone new skills and competencies to stay employable and competent for a digital world."

Additional findings from the report include:

  • 61 percent of polled finance professionals expect over 20 percent of financial tasks to be automated over the next three years.
  • 55 percent of surveyed finance professionals have seen a move towards “somewhat” automated processes in their workplaces.
  • "Hindsight reporting" reportedly makes up for 65 percent of a finance team’s report outputs.

To help adapt to these tech changes, CIMA is offering its updated Professional Qualification, Competency Framework, and Digital Mindset continuing education courses to help professionals stay abreast during this transitional period.

“We will – as we always have done – help finance professionals reach their full potential,” stated Harding.

For the full report, head to CIMA's site here.

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Technology Artificial intelligence Automation CIMA