While AI and technology form the underlying drivers of change in 2024, their successful adoption will depend on three people trends.

What 2023 trends will continue, or what new developments will surface, in the Finance and Accounting (F&A) industry in 2024?

Out analysts have the following predictions.

Firstly, F&A organizations will invest in technology to compensate for the talent shortage.

    • Traditionally, the industry has been slow to adopt digital technologies due to reliance on legacy systems and processes. However, change is underway. From challenges in the global supply chain to evolving regulations, the rapid pace of industry developments has placed a burden on accounting departments. F&A teams face increasing pressure to close their books faster, improve financial planning and analysis, and strengthen financial agility.
    • Without the right talent, the industry will struggle to help organizations meet changing market opportunities. Business and finance leaders will therefore become more receptive towards the adoption of digital technologies such as intelligent automation. This will help to remove inefficient, manual processes, and allow teams to focus on higher-value tasks that drive real results.
Nikhil Parambath, Regional Vice-President (Asia), BlackLine

Secondly, F&A professionals fluent in the use of insights from emerging data, analytics, and AI modeling technologies will be key to their organization’s resilience building.

    • The most successful F&A professionals in 2024 will possess skill sets beyond pure accounting, to include abilities to interpret and act on insights provided by comprehensive business intelligence and AI tools. Currently, automation software is already known for its potential to complete manual, repetitive tasks. With the rise of AI, this presents even more possibilities to help teams become more efficient: for instance, through predictive guidance on high-risk transactions and financial forecasting. What sets the modern F&A talent apart from their peers will be the ability to fully leverage digital tools to uncover financial insights, and align these findings with business strategy in real time to drive the business forward.
    • Rather than a department focusing solely on organizing the business’ financial statements, F&A team members will shift towards a more analytical, collaborative role, helping various functions of the organization — from sales to IT — to seize opportunities and evade disruptions. They could also be positioned as internal strategic advisers to their commercial function colleagues on a project-by-project basis, validating the assumptions generated in AI models.

Finally, CFOs will be integral in directing the digital transformation of the F&A function. As accounting software becomes more sophisticated and intelligent, the role of the CFO will be more important than ever to transform the F&A function amid the wave of technological advancements.

To facilitate the industry’s transition into a truly digital function, CFOs can set advisory guidelines, encourage team members to pick up relevant tech skills, and work with the CTO to ensure the smooth integration of AI and automation.