MENLO PARK, Calif. -

Accuracy certainly is paramount to successful accounting at auto finance companies.

And new research from Robert Half Finance & Accounting suggested artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to enhance accuracy even more and bring significant transformation to companies’ accounting and finance functions.

According to 47% of chief financial officers who participated in a Robert Half Finance & Accounting survey, the area expected to benefit most is payroll. More than four in 10 respondents (45%) believe budget and analysis will be impacted, as well.

Increased reliance on technology has had a positive impact on accounting and finance employees, according to 78% of senior financial managers polled for Robert Half’s Jobs and AI Anxiety report. Its influence is also expected to generate a substantial gain in the number of jobs worldwide.

According to the World Economic Forum, intelligent technologies could create a net 58 million new positions by 2022.

Turning back to that Robert Half Finance & Accounting CFO survey, participants also were asked, “What reasons do you think these functions will be most impacted by AI in the next three years?” They were able to give more than one answer, and the results included:

— Eliminates human error: 57%
— Reduces costs: 56%
— Increases employee efficiency and output: 50%
— Reduces burden on finance and accounting professionals so they can focus on higher value work: 49%
— Improves the bottom line: 43%

“AI presents a tremendous opportunity for companies to improve functions by reducing error and boosting efficiency,” said Steve Saah, executive director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting. “Implementing technology to address routine tasks also frees up employees’ time to take on strategic work that adds value to the business.”

Saah added, “Automation can create more opportunities for employees to engage in creative, collaborative, relationship-driven work, which is why we believe in technology as a job creator. As certain positions disappear, more new jobs are expected to surface, as has been the case with all waves of technology advancement over time.” 

Robert Half Finance & Accounting offered the following tips for managers to ease worker anxiety around new technology: 

— Provide training: Take advantage of new technology by upskilling staff. Investing in professional development increases the department’s strength and the firm’s success. 

— Deploy change management: As companies adopt emerging technologies, managers need to communicate to staff what’s being done and what it means for their jobs. Keep morale up by conveying key benefits of digital transformation.

— Offer stretch assignments: Remind workers of their value and leadership potential by engaging their talents in projects that encourage them to learn and build new skills.

The online surveys were developed by Robert Half Finance & Accounting and conducted by independent research firms. The CFO survey includes responses from more than 1,100 CFOs at companies in the United States with 20 or more employees. The survey developed for the Jobs and AI Anxiety report includes responses from 250 accounting and finance managers in the United States.