Poll finds finance executives planning major tech investments but concerned they lack staff to support it

Financial executives are planning for major technology investments at their companies this year, but are concerned they won’t have enough people with the skills needed to properly capitalize on their efforts, according to a recent poll by business management software developer Prophix.

The survey, with a sample of over 200 CFOs and other finance leaders, found the vast majority, 82%, said they are planning substantial technology upgrades in 2022, particularly for their automated financial planning and analysis processes. This will be fueling an overall push toward automated processes, as the poll found 31% of surveyed executives say they plan to have more than 75% of their FP&A processes automated by the end of the year, a major increase from the current 9%. Those upgrading their processes are generally either shifting from manual to automated systems or, if they are already automated, further utilizing artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities.

At the same time, leaders are concerned they do not have the human capital to lead such a transformation. At least 33% of CFOs said the lack of skilled workers is a significant obstacle to automating their FP&A processes, and 86% said the skill sets of financial professionals must evolve to account for the new roles played by data and analytics in today’s business environment. The report, though, does not predict this problem will persist because companies are working to set a standard for the skills needed from finance professionals, and those with the ability to run data analytics tools and interpret their outputs will be in demand.

Prophix CEO Alok Ajmera said the pandemic forced a digital transition onto a lot of companies. The results of the survey show that those who adapted are now using technology to not just survive but thrive, but he noted challenges remain.

Alok Ajmera

“The finance team, and CFOs in particular, have been under extreme pressure since the onset of the pandemic to lead their businesses through enormous uncertainty,” said Ajmera. This underscores the need for digital transformation to enable financial professionals to be better equipped for whatever comes their way.But just as organizations are moving in the right direction with these technology advancements, our findings highlighted that there is a shortage of proficient employees in these new technologies, particularly regarding the ability to accurately interpret data and analytics, which is a major concern for CFOs. “

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