Finance staff frustrated by ‘laggard’ bosses

Finance professionals want senior bosses to move with the times when it comes to modern work practices like remote working, and cite out of date views as a greater barrier than lack of technology, according to research from accounting software provider, CaseWare UK

A poll of over 1,000 UK professionals working in financial organisations or within a financial department looked at their views on cloud-based technology, its uses, benefits and understanding amongst professionals within the financial sector.

The findings show 29% of finance professionals blaming bosses for a lack of progress in adopting new working methods – an increase of 7% from similar research carried out in 2017.

In contrast to two years ago when the complex nature of financial service offerings was believed to be what was holding back remote working, in 2019 that view is now bottom of the list, with just 18% of finance workers identifying this as the issue.

Shez Hamill, director at CaseWare UK Ltd, said: ‘In an environment where some audit firms are shedding clients due to lack of capacity, it is surprising to see continued reluctance to new working practices and technologies persisting amongst management teams. 

‘Cloud technologies provide the ability to make the lives of finance experts easier and more productive, so it is surprising to see that senior leadership are perceived as the barrier to implementation.’

Despite the reluctance of senior leadership to embrace remote working, the research also revealed a positive response to the use of technology and automation, which is likely to have an impact on future hiring trends.

The majority of those surveyed (73%) agree that their organisation is committed to implementing automation to drive productivity, while 74% say removing lower-level processes through automation makes their job more rewarding. A third (34%) think AI will have the most impact on their working life over the next five years.

Hamill said: ‘In 2016, a desire to hire new staff was in the top five business priorities; in 2019 it is at the bottom of the list, reinforcing the fact that in an increasingly automated business environment companies do not need new people, they need different tools and skills.’

Report, Understanding technology attitudes within UK finance professionals

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