Thursday 23 January 2020

Tech 'may make CFOs thing of the past'

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Shawn Pogatchnik

HALF of finance professionals think chief financial officers (CFOs) will vanish from boardrooms as the power of data analytics takes over.

Today's report by PwC and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (Acca) finds that financial functions at firms face swift change driven by new technologies.

The report, based on the views of 1,100 finance professionals, including 55 in Ireland, envisages a near future when financial staff focus on foresight and leave artificial intelligence-driven tech to analyse past performance.

"Finance is changing at a rapid pace. This is both a challenge and an opportunity," said Acca's professional insights manager, Clive Webb.

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"The biggest barrier to this change is leadership mindset, alongside getting to grips with the technology that now pervades our working lives," Mr Webb said. "Knowledge of this technology is key."

The survey showed Irish attitudes to this transformation lagging behind global averages, particularly against Asia.

While 36pc globally said they expect finance functions to become virtual across departments, not centralised, within three years, respondents in Ireland were most sceptical.

A third in Hong Kong and China said they already use tech to disperse traditional finance functions throughout the firm. In Ireland only 9pc, the lowest among regions, said this is happening.

In Ireland, 40pc say the CFO role could disappear within a decade. In China, 63pc expect this, including 23pc who say it is already happening.

Irish Independent

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