In the financial sector, automation technologies will create more jobs than they replace, according to a recent survey sponsored by recruiter Robert Half.

The report, which surveyed 160 Australian CFOs, found that 46% planned to increase their full-time staff to handle their automation efforts over the next year, while an additional 36% planned to increase temporary staff for the same reason.

When asked how automation would impact finance jobs, 86% of the respondents said that it would change the required skillsets, instead of eliminating jobs. This has been one of the prevailing arguments in the business world for the value of automation–that it will free up workers to focus on more thoughtful tasks.

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“Increased automation within Australian workplaces is not about destroying jobs, but rather, adapting to change–which in turn leads to new opportunities,” David Jones, senior managing director at Robert Half Asia Pacific, said in a statement.

So, what aspects of finance will be automated? First to go will be data collection, according to 88% of the respondents. Invoicing will also be at risk of being automated, as identified by 85% of respondents. Additionally, 84% noted that automation will likely take over generating financial reports, while 77% said that data entry and credit management will be automated.

To remain competitive, Jones said in his statement, professionals in the finance sector must work on skills “that complement and leverage the capabilities of automation–rather than simply hand over control.” Some examples of these skills would be advanced data analysis, interpretation, and decision-making, he said.

AI and robotic process automation (RPA) have long been discussed in regard to their impact on financial services. However, the greater conversation around digital transformation has also focused heavily on automation, with nearly 90% of tech professionals claiming that IT automation is critical to digital transformation efforts.

“While automation may diminish some routine manual roles, it will lead to faster decision-making, reduce the risk of errors, and eliminate stresses associated with laborious task-management responsibilities,” Jones said in the statement. “These benefits are available to those companies who embrace workplace automation rather than resist it.”

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Automation will create more jobs that it replaces on the finance sector, according to a Robert Half survey of Australian CFOs.
  2. Automation will simply change the skills needed to be a worker in finance, the report said, with an increased need for advanced data analysis, interpretation, and decision-making.
  3. Data collection is at the highest risk of automation in finance, followed by invoicing and the generation of financial reports.