FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Automation, blockchain among CFO post-Covid considerations

More than a quarter of finance executives are looking into automating a bulk of their tasks in the next three years.

The pandemic has made financial executives rethink their roles, according to the latest study from EY Financial Accounting Advisory Services.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in many organizations. New solutions to drive agility in finance processes have also emerged. While some organizations enjoyed success in smaller-scale digital adoption in response to initial disruptions from the pandemic, the challenge is for finance leaders to map out a robust technology ecosystem as they concurrently transform finance processes and upskill their workforce to fully leverage the smart technologies and achieve sustainable long-term change," said Ronald Wong, Singapore Financial Accounting Advisory Services Leader and Partner at Ernst & Young.

EY found that 78% of Singaporean financial controllers and CFOs are looking into automating more than half of their tasks in the next three years, while 88% are looking into block-chain based systems in finance.

Despite this, 63% of the respondents are wary of the potential security and regulatory risks in using artificial intelligence in finance and reporting. Several respondents, at 45%, said finance data produced by AI are less trustworthy than traditional finance data.

Over the last year, 70% of respondents found an increased demand for financial analyses and forecasts, as more stakeholders show interest for nonfinancial data in corporate reporting such as financial and social, and governance.

"Finance leaders should rethink the role that reporting is expected to play in helping to tell the story of the value that the enterprise creates. If finance fails to play a central role in meeting these changing expectations, reporting could become increasingly irrelevant," Wong said.

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