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How digital trends will affect financial services’ roles

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Then evolving global trends in digitisation will not just reduce manual processes, but will cut cost to barest minimum, ensure efficient operations, with artificial intelligence and robots providing 24-hour services, particularly in the financial sector.

But beside the fears of job losses, the development would provide opportunities for up-scaling of skills, as well as new specializations for people, which includes the manning of the robots, data analytics, among others.

Specifically, the development is highlighting the changing role of today’s chief financial officers and chief operations officers within the Nigerian corporates and financial services industry.

The Partner and Experience Centre and Emerging Technologies Leader at PwC Nigeria, Femi Osinubi, said the future of the workforce will be more of machines and less of humans.

At a roundtable for chief financial officers and chief operations officers, organized by Microsoft, Osinubi noted that the new roles of finance will bring about the upskilled workforce that is digitally savvy.

“The workplace will be supplemented with new human and machine-based roles and highly effective operating model, with modern and collaborative spaces and structures,” he said.

According to him, huge investments have already gone into the new finance function model driven by technology, which will only leave the analysis of the numbers for humans.

But the Financial Service Industry Director of Microsoft MEA Multi-Country Cluster – North, West, East and Southern Africa, Levant & Pakistan countries, Mayowa Agboade, noted that organisations must be highly aware of the ‘uncomfortable’ shift in roles that has presented itself in the face of digital change.

“The role of today’s CFOs and finance executives needs to be broader and requires an increased appreciation of technology. The emergence of the digital age is fundamentally changing the priorities and roles of today’s finance executives with security at its core,” he said.

He said that Microsoft, in partnership with Harvard Business Review, reaffirmed its commitment to streamlining and enabling digital transformation in the financial services industry.

According to him, while the traditional roles that involve cost reduction, as well as sourcing new revenue streams remain at the core of the CFO and COO functions, exploring new opportunities for growth has emerged to the fore.

“This disruption has been enabled through the integration of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, mixed reality and blockchain.

“We always value connecting with members of the C-suite face to face as this gives us the opportunity to listen to them and understand their business concerns. We also look forward to engaging together to help unlock value of digital transformation.

“We look forward to the change today’s discussions will lead to and will continue working hand in hand to ensure these organisations achieve more.

“As with any industry, if you analyse the financial sector, the challenges present ‘bottlenecks’ to realising full potential output. Within financial services, there are inadequate tools for anticipating expanding business complexities, processes that are prone to error, growing threats, expanding risks and ever-increasing regulations. These are all causes for concern,” he said.

He said that some of the solutions made available for these issues come from applying technologies such as machine learning for revenue forecasting and employing predictive analytics for risk management to help manage reputation and ultimately save costs.

To remain competitive and foster an environment that is agile to the change brought about by digital transformation, he said finance executives have to lead their companies to reach goals around growth, profitability, and productivity.


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