Robotics revolution extending into finance sector

KPMG,Picture: Getty Images

Despite a dark cloud hanging over the finance, auditing and accounting industry as a result of the controversy surrounding auditing firm KPMG, the country has clinched 8th position as a global offshore location for finance and accounting outsourcing for 2016, a survey has found.

In addition, the survey also pointed out that the Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which has already transformed the manufacturing sector in a profound way, it is now poised to shake up the finance sector.

But some quarters argued about the guarantee of relying into RPA when comes to auditing given the latest saga involving KPMG. Further, the findings of the survey came late given the current fall of KPMG and one wonders whether if SA will still have clinched the top 10 spot.

A total of 126 large enterprises in Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States participated in the survey conducted by Deloitte and disclosed their finance and accounting (F&A) investment plans, pain points and challenges, skills, technology and service provider requirements, and favourite offshore locations.

According to the survey, South Africa’s significant rise is due in part to its high-end, specialised F&A skills and its ability to deploy the latest finance and accounting technology such as RPA and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Finance roles are under significant pressure because of RPA, with major challenges to shrink costs and support decreasing margins, improve speed, volumes and quality of information provided.

Deloitte said RPA is already saving companies substantial amounts of time and money.

“In some instances, we have found that RPA is 15 times more efficient than humans and offers a 15% to 90% cost reduction opportunity depending on the characteristics of the function to which it is being applied,” Francois Burger, Finance & Accounting Outsourcing Leader at Deloitte said.

However, Burger, concurred that although RPA poised as a game changer and a threat of human talent, the reality is that RPA is not a ‘once-off’ technology implementation, but a capability that needs to be continuously managed.