Almost a quarter (23%) of senior finance professionals fear that artificial intelligence (AI) could put them out of a job, despite 24% of finance functions already underway with onboarding the new technology and 51% planning to in the next 12 months. These are among the findings of new research commissioned by AccountsIQ, the award-winning accountancy SaaS provider.

While there are some concerns about AI, most senior finance professionals see the technology as having a positive impact. Over four in ten (41%) see AI transforming their ability to add value to their business, whilst more than a third – 34% – believe it will help them save time and increase efficiency.

Along with finance leaders, AccountsIQ also surveyed junior finance professionals with a maximum of three years of experience. 82% of this group feel tools, such as ChatGPT, will impact finance teams within the next five years, as currently, 75% of them spend up to a quarter of their time on manual tasks such as data collection.

Other key findings include:

  • Approximately 91% of finance functions are planning to automate traditionally manual tasks, including data collection and reconciliation. This shift is likely to provide relief to qualified personnel within finance departments.
  • More than 60% of younger finance professionals still heavily rely on time-consuming spreadsheets as their primary tools.
  • Manual reporting’s prevalence stands out as a significant source of frustration for 33% of all surveyed finance professionals. Among junior professionals, 30% express feeling undervalued due to their engagement in repetitive tasks they consider overqualified for.
  • Research indicates that automation is expected to address the issue of errors that affect nearly every finance function (96%). Notably, 30% of senior professionals and 28% of junior colleagues attribute errors to the absence of automation.

Commenting on this, AccountsIQ CEO, Tony Connolly said: “It’s welcome that finance professionals have a largely positive attitude to technology and its impact on their daily work, freeing them to use their hard-won skills to greater effect.

“Automation and AI are destined to deliver major gains for finance teams, liberating them for a far more strategic role so they are no longer seen as a back-office support function. Some professionals may have genuine concerns about AI, but I believe such worries are misplaced.”

AI applications’ more far-reaching analytical capabilities in finance should also help meet the ambitions of all finance professionals who want to contribute to top-level business decision-making in their organisation. The findings show that 25% of senior and 20% of younger professionals are frustrated by their inability to extract insights or business intelligence from the mass of financial data they handle.