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Automation keeping finance heads ‘awake at night’


Financial and professional services executives have told recruitment firm Hays that one of their core challenges is dealing with the possibility of defunct roles, particularly in functions like accounts payable and payroll.

By Katarina Taurian 11 minute read

The survey of 374 leaders including CFOs, financial controllers and general managers in Australia and New Zealand showed respondents predict 90 per cent of accounts payable roles to become either fully or partly automated.

This is followed closely followed by payroll at 78 per cent and bookkeeping at 73 per cent.

Financial operations is now on the list also at 33 per cent, and accountancy and audit sits at 45 per cent.


Automation is a contentious and sensitive issue in the accounting space, and is being taken to heart by these executives in their forward planning.

“A sure sign of the times, what is keeping today’s finance leaders awake at night more so now than ever, are IT and digital related challenges such as cyber security, and big data and automation rendering some job functions defunct,” says David Cawley, regional director of Hays Accountancy & Finance in Australia.

Mid-tier and big four firms alike are heralding major investments in automation and artificial intelligence. Most recently, BDO announced a capital and resources injection to its digital transformation program.

EY also announced its intentions to focus on tax robotics for the remainder of the 2017/18 financial year.

“Robotics process automation, data analytics and process redesign are all driving significant cost savings for tax clients and enabling our people to focus on higher value strategic advice and counsel,” said EY Oceania CEO Tony Johnson.

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Katarina Taurian


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