Research from Robert Half has shown that despite growing concern that workplace automation will not serve the actual employee, New Zealand’s finance leaders forecast automation will in fact bring about a positive change in their finance department. Indeed, they believe the positive impact will be felt by both employer and employee. The research shows new workplace technologies will lead to better decisions, higher productivity and a workforce with a richer skillset for those willing to adapt to change.
The benefits brought about by workplace automation for companies are well-known. The top three business advantages, as identified by New Zealand CFOs, are better decision making capabilities (62 per cent), more efficiencies and productivity (59 per cent), and employees taking on more value-added work (48 per cent) that in turn will lead to better business results.
But what is often overlooked is how automation will serve employees. The majority (90 per cent) of New Zealand CFOs agree that automation will have a positive impact on finance teams. For finance employees, the positive impacts of automation – according to New Zealand CFOs – are increased output (68 per cent), increased focus on the execution of tasks and less on the inputting of data (58 per cent), and increasingly being able to quickly learn new capabilities (46 per cent).
“With digitisation and automation helping the workplace transition towards new and previously untapped potential, positive change is on the horizon for companies who quickly adapt to change,” comments Megan Alexander, general manager of Robert Half New Zealand. “Embracing and implementing new technologies, while refocusing the workforce so finance teams develop additional skills as they adapt to change, will lead to better business outcomes for New Zealand organisations. It’s about creating an equal balance between technology and the people.
“However, automation also brings about advantages for finance employees, despite the lingering perception that this transition will only lead to job losses,” she says. “Finance employees will be able to capitalise on digitisation and automation as it highlights and supports the learning of new – and more value-added – skills, thereby elevating the roles of finance employees and increasing their overall market value.”
With almost three in four (72 per cent) CFOs agreeing their finance function still has a long way to go in updating its technologies and digital processes, it will be crucial for organisations to ensure they have the necessary skills needed to unearth the positive impacts for both companies and employees alike. Indeed, while companies will be looking to sharpen their competitive edge with automation, the pressure will fall on a savvy workforce to make things happen.
“Realising automation will be an ongoing process, with the New Zealand employment market very much in the cusp of change. In order to facilitate this change, companies will need skilled finance employees to manage this transition, making sourcing and retaining skilled financial experts business-critical issues,” concluded Megan Alexander.