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How to Bridge the Skills Gap with Automation

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insightsoftware is a global provider of reporting, analytics, and performance management solutions, empowering organizations to unlock business data and transform the way finance and data teams operate.

23 03 Blog Automationskillsgap Website

Finance teams today are facing unique challenges as they adapt to the post-pandemic landscape. Between layoffs and furloughs directly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation that followed, finance leaders are now dealing with a growing gap in the skills needed for their teams to successfully complete essential tasks.

According to recent insightsoftware research most finance leaders are confident that their teams can at least partially execute on each of their responsibilities, but only about half of teams can completely execute each task. Finance teams are moving away from the traditional number crunching and towards deeper analysis and planning support. In the wake of these changes, skills shortages are bringing finance teams up short in myriad ways.

The skills gap is particularly acute in controllership, capital management, and financial planning and analysis, but all finance roles are struggling. Thanks to skills shortages on finance teams, there is significant need for training and development and for progress toward digitization and automation.

While many finance leaders plan to address the skills gap through hiring and employee training and development, a significant percentage of leaders are also looking to software implementation and automation to bridge the gap. With the right technology investments, finance teams can automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, freeing up resources to focus on more valuable activities. Automation can also help resolve skills shortages by reducing the need to learn specific technical skills or relying on IT teams to supply those skills.

What’s Causing the Skills Gap?

Finance leaders report that staffing concerns are among the largest issues facing their teams. A lack of human capital means finance teams must do more with less and find creative ways to maintain productivity with fewer people.

Among the many factors that have led to smaller teams, reduced hiring is one of the biggest issues. The pandemic and later Great Resignation inspired employees to leave in droves – whether for early retirement or for career changes – and finance leaders are struggling to attract qualified talent to fully staff their teams.

The resulting loss of skills on finance teams must be addressed. Team leaders should invest in training and development to increase employee skills and technology improvements to automate processes and reduce the need for certain technical skills.

Many organizations have also responded to the economy’s volatility over recent years by scaling back on the use of contractors and temporary hires. Taking advantage of short-term staff with specific skills can ensure special projects are completed, but in the face of market swings, interest rate hikes, and recession fears, contract workers make for an easily expendable portion of finance team budgets. Finance leaders who wish to cut costs without losing the skills short-term hires provide should look for software that can supply the same or similar skills via automation.

Bridging The Skills Gap: How Automation Makes Finance Teams Less Reliant on IT

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Things to Consider with Smaller Finance Teams

Given the shortage of talent finance teams are facing, they are under pressure to do more with less to maintain productivity. However, it’s important for finance leaders to find ways to create efficiencies without disrupting their employees’ work/life balance; after all, no leader wants to see their staffing issues exacerbated by burnout and high turnover.

Keeping this in mind, finance leaders are strategizing ways to address the challenges their teams are facing. Approximately equal numbers of leaders are working to hire more people and planning software and ERP upgrades to address skills shortages and create efficiencies.

Whether organizations want to increase staff, tech investments, or both, it’s clear that scalable, agile solutions are needed to meet the office of finance’s ever-evolving needs. Finance decision makers should seize every opportunity to automate processes when possible, freeing up resources for deeper analysis and strategic planning and forecasting.

Using Automation to Make Up for Missing Skills

Finance team leaders have expanded their arsenal by realizing the advantages of automating processes when possible. Solutions for financial reporting, budgeting, and planning have become more widely used in recent years, and financial technologies are now starting to make their way into the routine operations of every finance function.

The adoption of new technology is now seen as a challenge for finance teams by over 40% of finance leaders, but it may also present a chance to address skills shortages. Technology that automates repetitive or manual processes will enable finance teams to achieve agility, scalability, and self-service capabilities. The result: real-time reporting, deep-dive analytics, and faster decision-making. Additionally, it can assist in resolving issues brought on by a lack of technical expertise.

Technology has limitless capacity to help finance teams. If your organization is looking to develop budgeting, planning, and forecasting skills in a wider group of team members, or if you are trying to ease the burden on your team by automating manual budgeting and forecasting processes, schedule a demo today.

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