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Finance experts told to skill up as robot takeover looms

Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - February 18, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Personal financial advisors, corporate finance professionals are encouraged to develop new skills going forward, as these professions are now slowly overtaken by robots.

“Robots are well-positioned to assist – they are great with numbers and don’t have the same emotional connection with money. This doesn’t mean finance professionals are going away or being replaced entirely, but the research suggests they should focus on developing additional soft skills as their role evolves,” said Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance expert and “So Money” podcast host.

In a study conducted by Oracle, it suggested that to adapt to the growing influence and role of technology, corporate finance professionals and personal finance advisors alike must embrace change and develop new skills.

“The role of finance teams and financial advisors will never be the same,” it said.

According to the study, 56 percent of business leaders believe robots will replace corporate finance professionals in the next five years. While 85 percent of business leaders want help from robots for finance tasks, including finance approvals (43%); budgeting and forecasting (39 %); reporting (38 percent); and compliance and risk management (38%).

Likewise, business leaders want corporate finance professionals to focus on communicating with customers (40%); negotiating discounts (37%); and approving transactions (31 %). While 42% of consumers believe robots will replace personal financial advisors in the next five years.

  Seventy-six percent of consumers want robots to help manage their finances by freeing up time (33 %); reducing unnecessary spending (31 %); and increasing on-time payments (31 %). Consumers also want personal financial advisors to provide guidance on major purchasing decisions such as buying a house (45%); buying a car (41%); and planning for retirement (38%).

“Financial processes in our personal and professional worlds have become increasingly digital for many years and the events of 2020 have accelerated that trend,” said Juergen Lindner, senior vice president, global marketing, Oracle.

“Digital is the new normal and technologies such as artificial intelligence and chatbots play a vital role in managing finance. Our research indicates that consumers trust these technologies to accelerate their financial well-being over personal financial advisors and business leaders see this trend reshaping the role of corporate finance professionals. Organizations that don’t embrace these changes risk falling behind their peers and competitors; hurting employee productivity, morale and well-being; and struggling to attract the next generation of AI-empowered finance talent,” added Lindner.

The Oracle research findings are based on a survey conducted by Savanta, Inc. between November 10 – December 8, 2020 with 9,001 global respondents from 14 countries (United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, France, China, India, Australia, Brazil, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Mexico and Saudi Arabia).

The survey explored attitudes and behaviors of consumers and business leaders towards money, finances, budgets, and the role and expectations of artificial intelligence (AI) and robots in financial tasks and management.

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