Finance jobs need to be rethought: EY and ISCA polls reveal why and how


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A joint report by Ernst and Young and the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) found that more than half of the 11 positions in the finance function will be moderately to heavily impacted by technology over the next 3-5 years .

When new technology disrupts the business landscape, most people think they will be laid off or their jobs will be cut. This is far from the truth since generally the goal of technology is to improve the quality of the roles that employees perform. It aims to reduce the time and effort spent on regular operational tasks and to use this free time and effort for more strategic work.

Just yesterday, we explained how companies are being forced to redeploy talent due to job loss due to COVID-19. In addition to redeployment, the COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the digitalization of businesses and brought the future of work earlier than expected. Job redesign has therefore become a critical need today.

This transformation in the fundamental nature of jobs was captured in a survey conducted by Ernst and Young and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Singapore (ISCA), especially for careers in finance.

According to the report’s findings, over the next 3-5 years, technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics / big data, and blockchain will drive the process. decision-making process and will have an impact on the efficiency of finance. functions. The survey covered 11 positions in the function and found that more than half of the 11 positions in the finance function will be moderately to strongly impacted by technology during this time.

The report “Redefining the Financial Function with Redesigning Jobs” is intended as a guide for companies to begin to redefine roles in today’s circumstances. The already high level of business transformation will help this overhaul to adjust to the new normal.

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Key trends shaping the finance function of the future

Some significant trends in terms of employment levels are as follows.

  1. Junior roles: Roles at the junior levels are more likely to be displaced by technology. The study found that their tasks will change dramatically and focus more on providing information from data analysis and entering train machinery.
  2. Intermediate roles: People in mid-level positions will need to step up their efforts to solve problems and use digital tools to respond to business issues, which means they need to hone their skills and become familiar with digital solutions.
  3. Senior roles: Roles at the senior level, including that of CFO, will need to become more strategic, where they will focus on providing regular information for the business rather than spending time on financial reporting. The use of new technologies to connect and manage the information needs of stakeholders will be necessary.

How HR should prepare for these trends

When businesses are likely to change at such a rapid pace, what does this mean for HR teams? While the study covers the finance function, the changes it highlights will likely apply to other industries as well. And HR needs to be ready for this change.

Revised talent acquisition approach

With the skill set required for changing roles, HR teams must now revisit their approach to talent acquisition to include a skills assessment and talent assessment applicable to future needs. Hiring will also need to accelerate as the market is changing rapidly and the talent pool is currently limited. Using social recruiting and virtual networks can help tap into this limited pool to find the most qualified candidates.

Redesigned talent management

As positions are revised, employees at all levels will need more clarity on their career path and the future set of skills they need to grow into these roles. It will also be necessary to modify the performance parameters and define the way in which the work of the employees is evaluated. HR teams will need to revisit the entire talent management strategy with the changing role demands of leaders of the future. It will also involve identifying skills gaps for career progression and subsequent retraining for that growth.

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New technologies generally positively affect the productivity of employees, as it helps them to use their time and skills efficiently. This is the reason why companies choose to overhaul job design because some tools can improve employee performance while others can reduce stress on unimportant tasks.

With more and more companies adopting tools to make the digital transition, task redesign is inevitable. However, the change in the way companies hire and then manage their talent after the overhaul will determine the success of this transition.

To note: The research focused on Singapore companies from the top five industries based on the percentage share of contributions to Singapore’s gross domestic product in 2019. These industries are manufacturing, retail and wholesale. , business services, finance and insurance, and transportation and storage.

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