Disruptive tech and the financial services workforce: Accenture

By Matt High
Disruptive technology could completely change the financial services workforce within a decade, says Accenture. Globally, the pace of change across the...

Disruptive technology could completely change the financial services workforce within a decade, says Accenture. 

Globally, the pace of change across the financial services sector is accelerating with little sign of slowing down.

Disruptive technologies with which we are all familiar - Big Data, AI, automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) - will, according to Accenture's recent Workforce 2025: Financial Services Skills and Roles report, "completely change the shape of the financial services workforce over the next five to 10 years". 

Whereas we, and the many reports we digest, tend to discuss the impact of such technologies from a pure financial services or consumer-focused point of view, Accenture's latest research outlines in more detail how these technologies will change the future for those that work in our sector. 

The workplace of tomorrow

Disruptive and rapid advancements in technologies that augment human expertise, creativity and skill, it says, will change the workplace and bring about new ways of thinking and collaborating across the global financial services sector. 

For example, according to Accenture's figures, as much as 10% of tasks in the financial services workforce could be automated by 2025 - 48% could be augmented with technology.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will be a key contributor to this percentage. As an example, through the use of AI technology. financial advisors could make personalised real-time recommendations and loan officers could determine default risks with more accuracy. 

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With the introduction of innovative technologies come several challenges, however.

In particular, these may include financial services firms lacking a coherent and strategic approach to their digital transformations, talent shortages, the need for upskilling and training, job displacement and data usage. 

Conversely, Accenture pointed to increased transparency as a strong competitive edge provided by innovative technologies.

With a broader outlook, it is suggested that the bringing in of new technologies could "unlock up to $140bn of industry value. Accenture also forecast:

  • augmentation of workforces could deliver $117bn 
  • automation of workforce could provide a $23bn in cost savings

Cathinka Wahlstrom, who leads Accenture’s Financial Services practice in North America, predicted “a new era ahead for financial firms that see the value of combining human ingenuity and personal touch with technology efficiency and precision to create new sources of growth."

Wahlstrom said that the key to implementing new technologies would be responsible leadership, adding that. “This isn’t about cutting costs to improve the bottom line, it’s about embracing technology to transform the workforce."

For more information on all topics for FinTech, please take a look at the latest edition of FinTech Magazine.

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