Wednesday 9 March 2016 2:18 pm

Finance jobs of the future: As automation speeds up more routine tasks, finance chiefs need to become more strategic in their work

Finance chiefs of today might not recognise their department in a few years time, as the function is set to undergo a massive change, according to a report out today.

Specialist recruiter Robert Half has discovered that the finance chiefs of tomorrow will be focused more on plotting financial growth for their company, particularly as advances in technology speed up many of their more routine tasks.

"The finance function has been experiencing a period of evolution, and we’re seeing this through enhanced, specialised skills set in growing demand in accounting and finance," said Phil Sheridan, senior managing director at Robert Half UK, South America and the Middle East. "While financial acumen and ensuring regulatory compliance are still absolutely key, finance chiefs looking ahead to the future recognise they need additional skills including the ability to help their organisation exploit technology to fuel business growth."

When asked what areas of their business they thought would be the most important that they would be expected to support by 2020, around a third (32 per cent) said commercial business opportunities, while 23 per cent replied time management and work volume and 20 per cent thought stakeholder communications.

Meanwhile, a third (33 per cent) ranked leadership as an important soft skill they needed to develop over the next five years, followed by communication (25 per cent) and commercial acumen (21 per cent).

Peter Simons, head of future finance research at Chartered Institute of Management Accountants Global, added: "Finance chiefs are balancing the need to support businesses to remain profitable and remain compliant, while supporting the business to seek out commercial opportunities which is seeing them invited back to the table again and again"