Thursday 17 October 2019

Finance heads behind the tech curve - EY report

Struggle: EY partner Danny Buckley has warned of resource shortages
Struggle: EY partner Danny Buckley has warned of resource shortages
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Heads of finance in Ireland appear to be behind the curve when it comes to planning for the future impact of technology on their firms.

Heads of finance in Ireland appear to be behind the curve when it comes to planning for the future impact of technology on their firms.

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Almost nine in 10 chief finance officers (CFOs) here say they do not have a high level of automation in their business processes.

This is despite the fact that 70pc of CFOs believe the role of the finance function will fundamentally change in the next 10 years, according to the 'Finance of the Future' survey from consulting group EY.

The use of big data and advanced analytics, as well as sophisticated planning and forecasting tools, are the top two finance capabilities that will be critical to meeting the demands of financial services organisations in the future, the survey found.

Despite this, the majority of heads of finance report very modest progress in data analytics and forecasting, with almost 70pc noting that they currently have no activity or are at the initial stages of looking into the area.

Meanwhile, three in five CFOs say that the operational burden of the traditional finance reporting role hinders them in focusing on the strategic priorities of their firm.

Danny Buckley, financial services partner at EY, said: "The report paints a clear yet complex picture of highly capable, skilled teams, burdened with manual, cumbersome processes and an environment where change has become the status quo.

"This has resulted in a struggle to find the time or resources to identify the measures that will keep finance functions fit for purpose."

In order to combat this, Mr Buckley said organisations needed to invest in technology to free up more resources.

This would help them to focus more on value-add activities, such as driving insights from data analysis and forecasting, he said.

Elsewhere, the survey - which was conducted among the highest-profile CFOs in the financial services sector - found the most significant challenge faced by them today was talent acquisition and retention. More than eight in 10 financial managers see the need to recruit finance executives with technology and data science related skills and experience in the future.

Irish Independent

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