Six in 10 businesses believe automation will drive productivity, reveals Robert Half

August 14, 2017

New report highlights the impact digital transformation will have on businesses, productivity and recruitment strategies within the next three years.

New report highlights the impact digital transformation will have on businesses and recruitment strategies

London, 14 August 2017 –  Robert Half’s new report, Digital transformation and the future of hiring has found that digital processes will be extended to manual, data entry tasks such as financial modelling (41%), generating financial reports (40%), project management and reporting (38%) within the next three years. As a result, payroll (37%), financial planning (33%), accounts payable (38%) and accounts receivable (32%) are expected to be the roles impacted by automation by 2020.

Digitalisation has already emerged as a business priority and is set to impact the future of business by offering new technologies to address threats and opportunities for a competitive advantage. Overall, 87% of executives have recognised the positive impact that the growing reliance on technology holds for organisations.

“Digitalisation will offer a new approach where labour and time-intensive processes can be shifted to allow for more value-added work to take place,” explained Matt Weston, Director at Robert Half UK. “Automation is impacting traditional business functions in a big way. Finance is no exception and professionals will need to be prepared to hold a more prominent and integrated influence on the wider business, gaining new skills that will see them through the technological shift.”

The main benefits that businesses are expecting, or already achieving from digital transformation, include improved efficiency and productivity, better decision-making and employees taking on more value add work leading to more fulfilling careers in the long-term. Overall, finance executives believe digitalisation will increase the productivity of each individual (59%), enable employees to focus less on data entry and more on the execution of tasks (53%), providing opportunities to learn new capabilities (51%).

“While a technical understanding will remain the core competence that provides professional credibility, it will need to be enhanced with soft skills,” added Peter Simons, head of future of finance, CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants). “We are already seeing this move occur within the finance department with the shift from technical to commercial skills. In the future, financial insights won’t just come from financial analysis but collaborating with other areas of the business. Traditionally labelled ‘professional services’ executives will need to engage with people, ask questions, have empathy and communicate in a compelling way to make informed business decisions.”

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Notes to editors

This report is based on an annual study developed by Robert Half UK and conducted by an independent research firm. The study is based on more than 200 interviews with senior finance executives. Companies across the UK were questioned in the survey, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500 and #1 in our industry on FORTUNE® magazine’s “World's Most Admired Companies” list (2016). Founded in 1948, the company has over 325 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and job seeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.