Finance is increasingly being automated in Singapore – here are the skills CFOs say employees need to keep up

With the rise of automation, many people in finance and other industries are set to experience unprecedented changes to their job scope and working environment.

Whether you view these changes as positive or negative, the truth is that it is best to prepare for what’s coming and take the necessary steps to stay relevant.

A new survey of CFOs in Singapore has found that the top skills finance professionals need to focus on as a result of automation are strategic vision (64 per cent), problem-solving skills (51 per cent), data analytics (45 per cent) and commercial acumen (40 per cent).

The research commissioned by specialist recruiter Robert Half also found that 73 per cent of CFOs are confident that their finance teams have the necessary skills required to tackle the implementation of automation in their organisations.

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore said that automation, when wholeheartedly adopted, can benefit companies especially if they equip themselves “with the skills and knowledge required to leverage the capabilities of this phenomenon, thereby also increasing their market value.”

As many of 82 per cent of these Singaporean CFOs also agreed that workplace automation does not lead to a reduction in finance employees in their team, but rather, can result in a push for employees to upskill.

The top three advantages CFOs said businesses and employees will experience in the finance department are increased productivity (72%), staff quickly learning new capabilities (66%) and increased time spent on the execution of tasks and less on the inputting of data (65%).

And while 95 per cent of Singaporean CFOs said that increased reliance on technology and digital processes can deliver a positive impact to the finance function, more than eight in 10 CFOs agreed that their finance functions still had a long way to go in updating its technologies and digital processes.

“While this change has the potential to generate new levels of innovation in the workplace, companies need to source and retain experts who have the necessary skills to manage workplace automation, which in turn will create new job opportunities for those with the necessary expertise to facilitate this change,” Mr Imbert-Bouchard said.

“Singaporean organisations will need to implement training programs for existing staff to ensure they have the knowledge and know-how to leverage the many benefits automation brings to the workplace,” he added.