With dramatic shifts in workplace environments and accelerated adoption of automation and digital banking, the future of work is here. From generative AI to virtual interfaces, from API management to fraud prevention, financial services are investing in a new generation of workforce technology. However, incoming technology does not supplant the need for workers — instead, it heralds a shift in the kinds of employee skills that are most valuable.
While ever-evolving technology can facilitate many aspects of the finance function, from risk mitigation to virtual assistance, it is not an effective replacement for human qualities such as creativity, empathy, leadership, relationship context, or collaboration. These changes are leading to a workforce transformation that will have impacts on employees in every role within finance:
As technology decreases the time required for many repetitive tasks, employee time will shift towards more strategic, collaborative, qualitative, and ideation-oriented aspects of internal or customer-facing services.
Financial analysts will gain ever more powerful data analytics tools to analyze financial data and generate insights in order to provide recommendations on financial strategy and investments. A key skill will be asking the questions for the data to mine.
Risk managers will be wielding bigger data, with an expanding range of variables, to identify, triage, and manage risks more effectively. They will also need to be able to respond quickly to changing market conditions and identify emerging risks before they become significant threats.
While IT continues to be responsible for implementing and maintaining software and tools, integrating new systems with existing infrastructure, and ensuring that data is secure and compliant with regulatory requirements, a new level of collaboration is required with finance and “fintech” data, risks, efficiencies, and integrations.
To lead in the modern era, leaders must be savvy of the latest technology trends and tools shifting financial operations and data, changing customer experiences, and reducing costs. Leaders also mark key figures in establishing a culture of security and technology literacy, to ensure these cascade across the finance team and the many functions and partners with which it interacts.
How is your order-to-cash solution delivering value for each of your teams today– is it?
Investment in both people and technology is essential to enabling technology. Below are some of the key focus areas to ensure a strong interplay of people and tech.
Prioritize change management
Change can be difficult, and people may resist it. Investing in change management means understanding the reasons behind the resistance and addressing them proactively. This may involve clear and effective communications, addressing fears and concerns, offering education and training, changing incentives, creating transparency safeguards, or providing additional support to help people adapt to new technologies and ways of working.
Ensure humans in the loop
A common refrain in the AI development space is to supervise models by having “humans in the loop”. But this value goes far beyond AI development: By involving employees in the design, technology adoption, and change management processes, their input and feedback can be incorporated, increasing buy-in and commitment to the change, and reducing costs and risks of botched roll-outs and poor user experiences. Greater participation can also improve overall employee engagement and support.
Center humans through UX and digital literacy
The success of any new technology depends on user adoption. UX design can help ensure that the new technology is intuitive and user-friendly, and more accessible. This can reduce barriers and resistance to change and improve overall user satisfaction, and help employees learn faster and feel more confident in using the new technology.
In a matter of years, we have moved from automation to AI to now generative AI, among many other emerging technologies. As technology evolves at such a rapid pace, so the skill gap continues to widen. Instead of viewing workforce transformation as a technology imperative, companies should optimize for people—customers, employees, partners, auditors, and leaders alike— in order to empower human strengths and relationships.