Finance jobs that will be killed by automation

“If you’re sitting in a desk, pushing text onto a Word document or entering data into an Excel spreadsheet, that’s work that’s already highly automated. If you always do this, these things will quickly disappear.

Dr George said accounting was a good example of a profession that could be disrupted by automation.

He said the number of accountants in Australia is expected to grow from 186,400 to 193,600 over the next decade, a miniscule annual growth rate of just 0.4%.

“This growth is slower than the rest of the economy at 2.6% per year,” Dr George said. “We estimate that 45,800 future accounting jobs could be replaced by technology.

“We have seen that economic growth will continue to drive the need for accountants. However, the nature of an accountant’s job will change rapidly as tasks are both automated and augmented by technology, which will impact future demand.

“Simple robotic automation of processes in the back office of large companies across Australia – these technologies can quickly replace the routine tasks you perform in an accounting job.”

But accountants, like finance brokers, he said, would be well equipped to move into cybersecurity, an area identified as having strong future demand. Accountants had transferable skills such as the ability to process data, meet strict deadlines, consult with others, and provide technical advice.

“As the job market changes, there won’t be enough talent with the right skills,” Dr George said.

“Companies must therefore rethink recruitment and retention strategies and allow for retraining and repositioning of roles.”

A Productivity Commission report released this week, which found Australia lags behind its global peers, highlighted the role of technology in productivity growth, but said tasks within jobs were more likely to be automated than entire roles extinguished.

“This reflects a growing demand and premium for those distinctly human skills that are difficult to automate – such as judgment, critical thinking, synthesis or empathy,” the report said.

“Considerable automation of tasks within jobs occurs over time and may be a greater force than full job automation.”

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