According to the ONS (office of national statistics) unemployment is the lowest it’s been since 1974. In a recent survey, Hays Recruitment have found that 68% of employers have experienced moderate to extreme skills shortages in accountancy and finance, impacting the overall team’s productivity. This gap means employers become more desperate to recruit and are increasing salaries and benefit packages to try and attract workers.
Alongside this, technology is improving at scale. The bell curve of technology adoption is in the late majority stage for 1st generation finance process automation. Innovation in the form of machine learning and Ai is improving solutions continuously allowing finance teams to be more productive in areas outside of traditional processes.
In a GenCFO Academy interview with Chloe Wood of Liberty Global, she talks about struggling to recruit for ‘feeder’ roles within finance.
“The roles that we are automating are really hard to recruit into – they have high level of attrition because they are roles that people do not want to do for too long, they want to move out within 12 months – so using transformational technology in roles is the right thing to do – people are not getting job satisfaction in those roles anyway”Chloe Wood of Liberty Global
Rising inflation, fuel and energy costs and cost of living means businesses need to be more vigilant with their budgeting and spend. Being able to increase salaries within the organisation for team retention and offer bigger salaries and better benefits for recruitment drives is not feasible for many.
Is it time to rethink the finance roles?
Automation can replace processes, but not people. Finance process automation pushes a reimagination of roles, less manual and more value added. Finance teams will become less costly and potentially turn into a profit centre by enhancing technology to take advantage of prompt payment discounts, elimination of late penalty fees, and increased visibility of cashflow. Add this to the employer branding element, a company that is seen as an early adopter or early majority user of technology adoption is an attractive proposition for new team members and increases retention rates of the existing team.
In times when businesses are striving for stability but want to ready for growth in the future, it seems like the answer to the question of recruitment or automation is clear!