Finance and accounting it set to be transformed by AI, according to nearly a third (32%) of business leaders.

In a survey of UK business leaders, by cloud-based accounting software bluQube, finance and accountancy was one of the business areas most likely to be impacted by AI, coming second only to the sales and marketing departments at 34%.

Respondents also noted the benefits they are likely to see from AI, with the top being that it could take away many of the repetitive and admin tasks associated with the role (42%). This is followed by the belief that it will allow professionals to be more strategic (35%) and require them to take on more of an advisory or client-facing role (31%).

However, others weren’t as optimistic with 29% saying that it would force them to retrain or reskill in other areas to be as successful. Concern was also echoed by 9% of business leaders who believe the technology will replace finance staff and 6% who stated it will either deskill the role or have no impact at all.

Interestingly, finance and accounting remain one of the most trusted business functions for AI to carry out, with 63% saying they’d trust it the most.

Commenting on this, bluQube CEO, Simon Kearsley, said: “Discourse surrounding AI over the past year has largely focused on the technology’s potential to transform job roles as we know it. Within the accounting and finance profession, our research suggests that business leaders’ opinions may be influenced by their current perception of AI’s capabilities.

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“For example, those that believe AI in its current form is a standalone technology, with the ability to work in place of human intelligence, also tend to believe that it will deskill or replace the finance professional. However, among the 29% of businesses that have already utilised AI within finance, 67% have recognised its value for data filtering and analysis, such as audit analytics and expense reports.

“Whilst this will undoubtedly change the day-to-day role of the finance professional due to AI’s capacity to minimise repetitive tasks and enhance efficiencies, it is positive to see that a greater number of respondents (28%) recognise the potential this creates for new types of roles.

“As AI continues to adapt and becomes a larger part of the accounting profession over the coming years, it is important to remember that the changing nature of work doesn’t equate to the elimination of the human workforce. Instead, it can facilitate a more varied career that empowers accountants to provide better financial insights and add more value to the organisations they serve.”