Almost half (46 per cent) of Australian chief financial officers are planning to expand not reduce their permanent staff headcount to help implement their company’s finance and automation over the next year, a Robert Half report said. More than one in three (36 per cent) of CFOs plan to create new roles for temporary or contract professionals over the same time period.
Most CFOs (86 per cent) agreed that workplace automation does not imply a reduction finance staff but rather, it requires a shift in the necessary skills.
Robert Half Australia Pacific managing director, David Jones, said increased automation within Australian workplaces is not about destroying jobs but rather, adapting to change, which leads to new opportunities.
“While automation may diminish some routine manual roles, it will lead to faster decision-making, reduce the risk of errors, and eliminate stresses associated with laborious task-management responsibilities. These benefits are available to those companies that embrace workplace automation rather than resist it,” he said.
Jones said Australian businesses are operating in a time of rapid transition, where adaptability will be key to surviving the disruptive effects of automation and digitisation for both companies and their staff.
“It’s becoming increasingly apparent that people must find ways to combine their own skills with the capabilities of technology – not only to drive better results for businesses in a highly competitive landscape but also to further their own careers,” Jones said.
The research also found that finance functions which are either already automated or likely to be disrupted within three years include data collection (88 per cent), invoicing (85 per cent), financial report generation (84 per cent), data entry (77 per cent), and credit management (77 per cent).
Robert Half said the jobs sentiment gathered from this research is reflected in a recent speech by Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard University. Zuckerberg said that while automation will eventually replace some jobs, it is up to millennials to create new ones.