NEW YORK–Artificial intelligence, automation, analytics and accounting, not to mention plain job-hopping, are causing tectonic shifts in the role of corporate finance, according to a new report on
how Millennials currently working in the finance function view the world.
The new study by Metapraxis, a provider of financial analytics technology, found that 53% of tomorrow’s leaders, defined as Millennial-aged finance professionals in the U.S., see automation of core processes as a threat to their role, and 81% say automation will impact their future career choices.
“The Changing Face of Finance: What Does the Future Hold for This Essential Part of the Business” report exclusively probes Millennial-aged finance professionals. It delves into their attitudes toward the role of the financial function in organizations, the changes brought about by automation, and how they envision interacting with it, according to Metapraxis.
“By 2020, it is predicted that Millennials will account for about half the global workforce and by 2025, perhaps up to three quarters,” the report observes. “If we want to know what finance will look like in the decades to come, these are the people who will be calling the shots…Their responses can’t tell us for sure what the future will hold for finance, of course. But we hope that it does give some insight into the current thinking of those who will be there to write it.”
Among the findings:
- While 82% recognize the role of finance in bolstering trust, just 45% think public confidence in corporates has grown in the last 12 months, and a third (34%) think it has actually declined.
- While seven in ten (71%) feel confident that shareholders and executives appreciate finance’s role in driving performance, a substantial minority say they don’t (16%) or don’t know (13%).
- A more encouraging lesson can be drawn from Millennials’ diverse career goals, according to the analysis, which said the cohort sees the function changing, becoming more strategic and varied – in large part due to technology. In fact, eight out of ten (79%) said adoption of technology within finance would impact their career choices, according to the report.
- More than half (52%) say advanced analytics offer a transformational opportunity for the finance function.
- More than half (51%) also say there’s an immediate need to learn data science skills.
- A third (33%) also believe AI and machine learning will have a big impact.
“On the one hand, there are no illusions that technology will make some tasks carried out by finance redundant: 61% say automation of core processes and strategic decision support in the finance function could threaten their role,” the report says in its analysis. “On the other, even more (78%) see automation as an enabler, allowing finance to add more strategic value to the business.”