Robotics will hit finance jobs harder than offshoring

“Robotic process automation actually solves a 20th century workload problem,” said a Westpac spokesperson.

“The 21st century demands real-time solutions.”

But in reality, someone, somewhere in the world, is currently performing these low-level tasks manually. And soon they won’t.

Software is taking a bigger share of the corporate finance workload. As it is, the financial profession is preparing for a wave of technological change greater than that caused by outsourcing and offshoring over the past decade.

“The benefits of this technology are just beginning, so there will be another wave of change over the next 12 months,” said Jason Dale, education manager at Chartered Accountants ANZ.

“The cycle just keeps accelerating,” Mr Dale said.

Ministries can get involved

Mindfields procurement specialist Mohit Sharma said one of the reasons software and artificial intelligence will hit finance jobs harder than offshoring is because government departments will be able to use it.

The public sector is a major employer of finance professionals, and to date has been largely denied the efficiencies of offshoring due to privacy and national security concerns, as well as political sensitivities regarding the protection local jobs.

ANZ Bank Group Centers Managing Director Simen Munter said robotics was a priority for the business process outsourcing industry, which includes brands like Wipro, Hewlett-Packard, Tata Consulting Services, IBM and Accenture.

“If you’re a BPO salesperson and you don’t offer anything in that space, then it’s like trying to sell a car without airbags,” Munter said.

“It’s technically possible but nobody wants to buy it.”

pain to come

Munter says automation won’t reduce the number of jobs for finance professionals. It will simply create different, “higher value” jobs.

But that means short-term pain as finance professionals retrain.

Figures from the Hackett Group in the United States estimate that since 2004 the median number of full-time employees in the finance department of large companies has fallen by 40% to about 71 people for every billion dollars in revenue, from 119 previously.

Finance professionals need critical thinking and analytical skills to be useful in the new environment, Dale said.

“Most of our members saw this happen before the curve,” he said.

“Many have moved into general manager roles.”

This change should be felt as much in low-cost centers as in the domestic market.

The pace of recruitment has dropped very significantly at ANZ hubs in India, the Philippines and China, according to Mr Munter.

“Hundreds of people interact with robotics daily. We expect this to grow significantly in our hubs over the coming year and beyond as the technology has matured in ways that were never before. not available a few years ago,” he said. .

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