BING Finance Faceoff: Technology vs People | BlackLine Magazine

Dim the lights and cue the music. The global business world is set to take the stage in yet another dramatic showing of: Technology versus People.

In the past few years, there’s been growing discomfort around the increasing power of technology and its potential impact on employees. The result is a divide between the people who view advanced technology as a threat, and those who view it as an opportunity.

While choosing sides is important for a philosophical debate, we do not actually have to choose sides in a man versus machine battle.

The truth is, technology equips accounting and finance professionals to be exceptional. And organizations need both technology and people to be most successful.

The Technology Advantage

Technologies such as the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotic process automation (RPA) have brought us a new way of doing business. These tools and platforms have reinvented the way we work, and their continuous advancements provide opportunities to reimagine, to elevate what the finance function could look like.

Companies who adopt the right technology will be positioned as industry leaders and gain competitive advantage. Accelerating the pace at which information is available and in which tasks can be completed will allow for quicker speeds to market with better information.

Why People Will Always Win

Even with the newest and best technology, companies still need talented people. More than ever, organizations need strategic decision-makers with analytical skills and an understanding of the business that goes beyond their functional responsibility.

Accountants whose days are consumed by lengthy checklists of manual tasks don’t have the time for these business-critical activities. And this is where technology comes in.

As technology automates the rote work that dominates accountants’ time, especially during the period-end close, accountants finally get to become the exceptional assets they’re striving to be.

Ultimately, the success of an organization will depend on its ability to correctly balance talented people with technology. This balance is achieved by combining smart technologies with the brains, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills of talented people.

As Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum predicts, businesses will find success when they “shape a future that works for all by putting people first, empowering them and constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people, for people.”