CIMA calls for wider digital skillset

Most finance teams and professionals are failing to evolve their skills fast enough to account for the impact of artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and other technologies on traditional accounting tasks, according to research from CIMA which is updating its qualifications in response

The institute’s survey of more than 5,500 finance professionals from over 2,000 organisations in over 150 countries found that more than 50% of finance leaders globally say the competencies of their teams must ‘change significantly’ over the next three years as new technologies take over traditional tasks.

Most (61%) of finance professionals surveyed expected over 20% of finance tasks will be automated in next three years, while over half (55%) have already seen a move towards ‘somewhat’ automated processes.  Yet despite these trends, hindsight reporting, for instance, still makes up 65% of a finance team’s report outputs.

CIMA says the adoption of new technologies will mean businesses expect a stronger focus on value creation with the automation of repetitive tasks. Expertise in areas such as data analytics, cyber risk management and business models will facilitate the shift. Supporting this, will also be the need for a shift in mindset to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn new skills to deal with complexity and operating in an increasingly agile environment.

Andrew Harding, CIMA chief executive – management accounting, said: ‘Technology is bringing us change at an unprecedented speed and scale. Organisations must constantly enhance their capabilities to seize new opportunities and remain viable.

‘For finance professionals it is no different. The changing environment represents a huge opportunity for them to go beyond their core technical comfort zone and embrace emerging technologies as a way to deliver value across their organisations. However to rise to the challenge, they will need to hone new skills and competencies to stay employable and competent for a digital world.’

In response, CIMA is launching enhanced version of its professional qualification, chartered global management accountant (CGMA) competency framework and digital mindset continuing education course to give finance professionals, members and students the tools and resources they need to thrive in this digital age.

CIMA survey, Re-inventing finance for a digital world, is here.

Report by Pat Sweet

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