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Staff moving to AI to save time

UK employees are spending over a month each year on tasks which could be automated, after new research from innovative payments solutions provider Equals Moneyconcerns around job security continue to be a top barrier to AI adoption for 33% of businesses. Despite this, 95% of financial leaders are using, or considering using AI in their processes, signalling optimism towards AI adoption despite job loss risks.
Financial processes were shown to be a key area for automation, with 59% of businesses having automated receiving payments, whilst over half (52%) are using business AI to issue payments, and 57% are using the technology to generate invoices.
“The foundation of finance is reconciliation, comparing one number to another and whether it matches,” comments Steve Paul, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Equals Money.  “AI is very good at following rules, and if you can design, implement, and then automate those rules, then it’s clear to see the huge part AI will play within finance.  This will then allow finance teams to be truly analytical and provide greater value for their organisations.”  

According to the research UK employees are spending on average 65 minutes a day on automatable tasks, a total of 38 days a year.  Of the businesses surveyed 85% say that their adoption of AI tools has impacted workloads, with 46% citing that it has freed up employee capacity by reducing or eliminating certain tasks.  However, 39% said they felt that some job roles were at risk of being made redundant due to automation.

Alongside the cost of investment (42%) and worries about job security (33%), and concerns surrounding accuracy (41) and lack of understanding of AI systems (36%) continue to be barriers to AI adoption.

“While many have concerns about AI making certain roles redundant, with increased adoption AI will actually create a number of specialist jobs to oversee its operation,” says James Poulter, Innovation Strategist and AI keynote speaker.  “Similarly, when correctly implemented, AI can be used to help junior team members learn and develop so there is real scope for it to improve at all levels going forward.”
Countering these challenges, almost half of respondents cited cost savings (49%), improved efficiency and time savings (51%), and faster payment processes (25%), as key drivers for their firm’s adoption of AI.  

“Embracing AI automation is crucial for finance leaders to gain a competitive edge.  We must be receptive to change and treat AI adoption like any other transformative project.  The real risk lies in being slow to adopt, allowing competitors to pass us by,” warns Paul.  

“Get AI right, and we boost decision-making, efficiency, and free up time for strategic work.  That’s not to say we should let AI run unchecked – it’s our job as decision-makers to ensure the correct level of oversight is applied to AI processes and that they are effectively managed.  Not all processes should be automated and it’s key to understand which tasks can be given to AI, and which should be left to the experts.”
The Research conducted by Equals Money and 3Gem in April 2024, surveyed 400 UK financial decision-makers.  

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