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The effects of robots on senior finance roles

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With technology drastically changing the way companies do business, does that mean computers and robots will steal our jobs? According to some estimates, many British jobs could be wiped out by robots over the next 20 years. It’s no secret that everything in our daily lives is becoming more computerised, especially with the Internet of Things on the horizon – so robots could be a natural progression. However, nobody can be certain of the effects robots will have many years in the future, and their impact is likely to differ between industries.

The finance industry could be altered by automation, which is of little surprise since the industry is based on processing data and information. This doesn’t mean human finance roles will disappear because the implementation of robotics may advance the jobs people already have. For example, robots can help review employees’ disclosures regarding transfers and personal accounts. Robots offer 100% accuracy, timelessness and efficiency, so the advantages of having them in the finance industry outweigh the disadvantages. Robotics will make it easier for firms to spot errors and make changes as required, and job roles could become transformational, as businesses have more access to data.

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While robots can undertake mundane tasks at high speeds, whether robots will move into senior finance roles remains to be seen. When you remove the human element completely, you run the risk of removing professional oversight. The need for human interpretation across business systems is very important, so robotics could aid senior finance professionals with their tasks. In 2014, multinational banking firm, Goldman Sachs Group Inc invested $15 million in Kensho, a data analytics software which is capable of analysing enormous amounts of data. Some predictions have been that the use of Kensho and similar software may result in an employment decline. At present, Kensho hasn’t been responsible for any senior finance roles being made redundant, but it may mean roles such as middle management or administration could be altered in alignment with automation.

Furthermore, robotic financial advisers have started rolling out in recent years. Robo-advisers provide online investment suggestions and they are cheaper, less restrictive and often offer clients reduced fees, typically less than half the fees of the traditional brokerages. So, we can see how robots are having positive effects on cost management for investment services.

It’s impossible to determine at this point whether artificial intelligence could contribute to decision making in a business. The social consequences of robots are ultimately unpredictable and could potentially be negative for the finance sector. Robots don’t possess the dedication and mannerism of a human to be able to deliver key decisions in a compassionate and emotive way. Robots lack the personality and personal influence of a human being, which are key elements to being a successful senior finance leader.

What is clear is that the most mundane tasks could be outsourced to robots in the finance industry. This could free up time and allow business to concentrate on more important tasks, such as profit planning, fund allocation and other priorities. So, robots could add more value to human’s financial jobs and increase productivity. Indeed, the robots are coming and as a result, senior finance roles are likely to evolve massively and provide opportunities for industry growth.

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