“The reality is you have to have good communication skills, problem-solving skills and the ability to collaborate effectively with others. We can’t crystal ball it out to 2050, but at the moment AI is not going to take over and it is the utilisation of human skills that are most needed.”
Eisenhuth said his company asked non-finance leaders from a range of fields (including sales,
marketing, human resources, technology, operations and general management) across 106
organisations about what traits made a finance partner or team effective.
“The highest polled responses were problem-solving (58 per cent) and empathy (38 per cent),
dwarfing other capabilities such as accuracy and timeliness and systems and process skills,” he said.
“Interestingly, empathy is something robots aren’t quite so good at, and complex business problem-
solving has yet to be proven by technology at scale.”
Eisenhuth is a perfect example of those skills being vital in future-proofing organisations.
After spending the majority of his career in the recruitment sector, consulting with chief financial
officers and their teams, he realised what was lacking in many organisations was someone that
could help employees and employers better understand how new technologies could be utilised not
in downsizing companies, but in allowing them to explore ways in which they could build on capacity that already existed.
“We now help companies find ways to best use the skills they have in a different way. For example,
how to create partnerships to create better outcomes with other people. The skills that are most valuable are things like listening, questioning and sharing information in a meaningful way, all the things they already know how to do but now need to use in a more focused way and prioritising them in way to solve business challenges,” he said.
“A lot of the teams we work with are accountants [who may have new software or technologies].
They are not throwing out the accounting rule book, they are still doing budgets, forecasts and
reports, but we are helping them to look more critically at what sorts of reports they are doing
and how that report can be used to help others make better decisions.
“When teams see the opportunities new technologies can afford them, they realise it is not about removing their roles but about looking at how to do what they do in a better way so they can focus the highest-value activities. Digital disruption is not about anyone losing their jobs in most cases, but enhancing their jobs.”
Michael Flanderka from Data Interactive, a company that helps organisations capture, analyse and
understand how best to use the data they collect, started his working life as an accountant.
“In 2014, I reflected on my personal experience, business career and the ‘knowledge’ I had gained of
‘business pain points’ and sought to identify technology-based solutions to solve these ‘problems’,”
“Through this reflection and detailed research I identified emerging technology – Robotic Process
Automation (RPA) software which was being used in Europe and US to solve many of the business
problems I knew existed.
“I took this knowledge, investigated deeper, gained a detailed understanding of software
‘tools’/features/benefits and in late 2015 I established the Data Interactive Group to provide RPA
and intelligent automation solutions to medium to large clients.”
Flanderka says his original working skills are not specific to his current career but they significantly
“The key to delivering a successful automation project is understanding business processes and
people, just as much as understanding the technology,” he said.
“Essentially, my role is to listen, explain, share, lead, show, build and deploy ‘bots’ [automation
software] to unlock staff capacity, create happier workforce, provide quicker business outcomes and
transition staff and clients into the ‘future of work’ and the fourth industrial revolution.”
Rather than focusing on learning how to build, create and manage the technology that is part of this fourth industrial revolution, Eisenhuth said looking towards the future, it’s the uniquely human traits that are going to be in high demand.
“Looking at the adoption of AI in business, the technology currently can’t compete with the human
ability to build relationships, empathise and develop creative solutions based on this awareness. Yet, research indicates 83 per cent of Australian financial leaders are worried about being replaced by AI,” he said.
“What we know about humanity is we will always find a way to be relevant, and our capacity to
connect is a uniquely human trait.
“As long as humans have the ability to connect, build relationships, empathise and develop new
and creative solutions to problems, we have an irreplaceable role in all sectors of a business, whether it be in operations, marketing, HR or even the accounting and finance field.”