While implementing RPA in the finance function of organizations is a top priority for CFOs, many are not confident their implementation goals will be met in 2021, according to a new report from Gartner. The Stamford, Conn.-based consultancy surveyed U.S. CFOs and found nearly two thirds (66 percent) expect to spend more on RPA and other workflow automation next year. Only advanced data analytics tools will garner more resources than RPA, the report found.
But, the business environment caused by months-long shutdowns in many areas has taken its toll in the ability of companies to follow through on their priorities.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has forced CFOs to abruptly assess both their organizations’ and functions’ current digital capabilities, and they have clearly found many areas lacking,” said Alexander Bant, chief of research in the Gartner Finance practice. “Next year will be about accelerating digital investment timelines from the pace of a multi-year marathon to a 12-month sprint. However, most CFOs aren’t sure they will successfully cross the finish line in many of these areas.”
More than half (56 percent) of CFOs identifying RPA as a priority also believe it will be difficult to achieve their goals in that area. Gartner, however, identified RPA as one of the priorities that it makes sense to push in the Covid era.
“Most CFOs have by now conducted small-scale experiments in either RPA, artificial intelligence (AI) or advanced analytics technologies, and they have seen the potential for significant ROI,” Bant said. “Now the key will be achieving scale with these technologies while ensuring that CFOs have the talent in place to run an always-on, fully digital business.”