Written by Anthony Trotter
The rise of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence is an exciting topic, however we must all be aware that high-technology is on target to replace a large number of jobs in a wide range of fields. Accounting and finance will not escape this invasion.
Many positions in accounting and finance could be replaced by robots due to their repetitious and calculative natures – areas in which robots tend to excel. According to a recent Deloitte report, 56 percent of roles in the finance arena could be replaced by automated systems.
It is therefore prudent for those who currently work in, or seek to pursue, careers as chief financial officers, accountants, financial services providers, analysts or other similar fields to start researching now on how to survive the arrival of robots. They aren’t coming, they are here.
Following are several ways to robot-proof your job.
The more knowledgeable, experienced and specialized you are in your field, the less likely a robot will be able to fill your shoes. Achieving such qualifications as CPA, CIA, CFE, Nissho Boki, etc. while also gaining additional skills and exposure to SAP, ERP and various other software will give you the advantage over machines that tend to better fill unqualified positions.
Seeking specialty qualifications will make you more robot-proof. This is especially beneficial if you become qualified in areas that robots have a problem servicing. For example, pursuing financial and accounting skills with an IT background will help elevate your value as one who cannot only complete industry tasks, but find ways to improve robot performance.
Retooling is another strategy you can use to robot-proof your future. This term means to cross-train in other areas of your industry or in other career fields. If your job is being or likely to be threatened by robots, you can learn other skills in areas that are less vulnerable.
For example, if you hold a threatened position in analysis, perhaps broaden your exposure to sales, consulting or other back office functions. There are a number of fields that are considered more robot-proof than others. Having additional qualifications and skills could mean the difference between staying or being replaced.
Improve Leadership and Management Skills
The big advantage we have as humans over robots is that we are able to think, reason and act based on a complex variety of input, including emotions and ‘gut feelings’ – something machines lack in spades. Sure, robots can calculate and hammer out figures or effectively recognize trends based on data analyzation more efficiently than their fleshy counterparts, but what they cannot do is gauge how clients and markets will respond based on human qualities that “do not compute” in robot minds.
These types of human qualities are what shine the brightest in those that exhibit real leadership. Honing people skills (soft skills) and the understanding of human characteristics that lie at the foundation of business, as well as other management skills, will help you keep an edge over cold, calculating robots.
The time is now to start robot-proofing your future. Robots are here, but there are ways to continue working among them so that you remain a fully employed and valuable contributor to the workforce for many years to come.