Technology has always been a driving force in the world of business. It has the ability to disrupt entire industries, and often does. This is certainly true when it comes to finance functions. In recent years, we have seen a shift away from traditional financial controllership roles and towards more technologically driven solutions. This trend is only going to continue in the coming years, as emerging technologies start to take over the financial landscape.
Most accounting entries are driven by a business activity that can easily be automated into a financial transaction. For example, when a salesperson signs up a new customer, they can automatically trigger an accounting journal entry and customer invoice, along with automated emails for chasing debts, which can be reviewed via dashboards. This eliminates the need for someone to manually enter and reconcile each transaction, freeing up resources and reducing costs.
At the same time, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are beginning to take over more complex financial tasks. AI-driven software can be used to create automated accounts reconciliations, which reduces the need for manual checking and double-entries of data. AI is also increasingly being used to handle more sophisticated asset management, including predictive analytics and risk management. These automations are pushing traditional finance activities out to the business for self-service, allow finance teams to focus on higher-level strategic planning rather than mundane accounting tasks.
As these technologies become more widespread, the need for traditional controllership roles will continue to diminish. Finance departments will increasingly delegate routine tasks to automation and focus on more strategic planning. This will result in a shift towards more specialized roles, such as data scientists, business partners and strategic advisors.
Evolving the financial controllership roles
Emerging technologies such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) are already automating significant activities within accounts payable, accounts receivable and financial controllership roles in many organizations and this trend is set to continue. During the next 12 months, it is estimated that most finance controllership roles will be significantly impacted by automation.
Many activities can already be automated by widely available technologies. For example, invoice processing can be automated by integrating the sales and accounting systems, credit card processors can automatically match journal entries to the accounts payable ledger, and outstanding debts can be chased by automated emails. It is no wonder that the controllership roles are significantly evolving. Emerging technologies are revolutionizing the way we do business, and financial services are no exception. The evolution of financial controllership roles is inevitable and will mean a shift away from traditional ways of working towards more technologically focused solutions.
As the need for traditional controllership roles shrinks, financial departments should be well-positioned to leverage the latest technologies and continue to drive success in the years ahead. However, with this change comes opportunity, as organizations can make the most of emerging technologies to achieve greater efficiency and increase their competitive edge. It is an exciting time for financial services and one that will no doubt bring many opportunities in the years ahead.
As the world continues to embrace technology, traditional controllership roles are set to become a thing of the past. With automated processes taking over mundane financial tasks, finance departments will need to stay on top of emerging technologies and adjust their roles accordingly. While this may seem daunting at first, it is an opportunity for financial services to gain greater efficiency and increase their competitive edge. With the right strategies in place, financial services will be able to leverage the latest technologies and continue to drive success in the years ahead.
Now is the time for organizations to embrace change and make the most of emerging technologies to achieve greater efficiency and increase their competitiveness. This shift towards more technologically focused solutions has already begun, and the evolution of financial controllership roles is inevitable.
What could our next steps be?
The Controllership Function is an ideal home for a transformation resource or part resource. The core skillset required will be process improvement and project management – ideally understanding of the Agile methodology used within software engineering. This person will lead on the standardization and automation of processes. The key for finance leaders is to give this person time and space to deliver change – it’s hard to do this role in addition to a full-time day job.