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Survey: Only 11% of Organizations Are Ready for Digital Disruption

A survey of finance and treasury professionals at AFP 2017 finds that, though many know digital disruption is coming, they are not ready to respond to the challenge of robotics, AI and blockchain.

November 14, 2017 – Bethesda, Md. – Finance and treasury professionals know that new technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain and robotic process automation will disrupt their function, yet they believe their organizations are not prepared for the coming changes, according to a new AFP MindShift survey.

The poll of 279 finance and treasury professionals found that just 11 percent believe their organization is “fully prepared” or “very prepared” for these new technologies. Fully 36 percent believe their organization is “minimally prepared” or “not prepared.”

The AFP MindShift survey also found that:

  • 50 percent say blockchain and the internet of things (IoT) will have a moderate or significant impact on their profession
  • 48 percent do not plan to implement IoT technology; it is even higher for blockchain (51 percent), artificial intelligence (54 percent) and robotic process automation (55 percent)
  • 58 percent say the biggest hurdle to adopting emerging technologies in their organization is “awareness and engagement”.

The survey results should serve as a wakeup call, said Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of the Association for Financial Professionals, who is one of the creators for AFP MindShift, a consortium that connects technology innovators to the corporate finance and treasury community.

“The benefits of new technology for finance and treasury are clear: increased productivity, reduced costs and better decision-making,” Kaitz said. “However, the challenges are just as clear: lack of control over technology, cybersecurity, company-wide consistency, maintaining employee skills, and the potential loss of jobs. Treasury and finance needs to get their heads out of the sand and begin to grapple with these challenges.”

In addition to the on-site survey, AFP MindShift released a whitepaper, “Emerging Technologies and the Finance Function: Prepare for Disruption.” The paper was prepared by AFP, Marsh & McLennan Companies’ Global Risk Center and Starfish Leadership.

The whitepaper focuses on three emerging technologies: robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. Each new technology presents unique opportunities for finance and treasury, and accordingly, requires a practical set of moves to help the function accelerate awareness and proactively manage adoption risks. “When finance and treasury roles consider applying emerging technologies, such as robotics process automation and AI, to their processes, there are a number of attractive capabilities that can potentially transform the way they operate and enable their business to be more competitive,” said Leslie Chacko, Director, Marsh & McLennan Companies Global Risk Center. “However, there are serious challenges and considerations in governance, talent strategy, cyber risk, and more that have to be very carefully considered. That said, ignoring these technologies isn’t an option. This paper articulates six practical moves that finance and treasury can make to enhance their awareness, assess their organization, and test these technologies with minimal risk exposure.”

For any press queries or for more information, contact Melissa Rawak, Managing Director, AFP, at [email protected].

About AFP®
Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is the professional society committed to advancing the success of its members and their organizations. AFP established and administers the Certified Treasury Professional and Certified Corporate FP&A Professional credentials, which set standards of excellence in finance. Each year, AFP hosts the largest networking conference worldwide for over 6,500 corporate finance professionals.


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