Intelligent robotic systems are set to revolutionize corporate financial management practices. Company boards are also soon likely to feature a robot-like intelligent system that will forecast, calculate and take management decisions with incomparable efficiency and speed.
This robotization is fast becoming a reality thanks to the great strides being made in artificial intelligence research. Robots were once seen as mechanical slaves, but today they are something entirely different: intelligent robotic systems networked into their operating environments. They perform the role of a trusted assistant who can predict, identify and provide guidance. Robots are even capable of emotions.
“We now talk of service robots. A company’s financial management is a key service function and one that will inescapably find automation and robotization emerging as topical and current issues,” says Research Director Jari Kaivo-oja from the Finland Futures Research Centre at the Turku School of Economics.
“If we are looking for productivity growth, then robotization will need to be systematically embraced. This will also mean that wherever the world’s best robots are you will also find the best jobs.”
Predictive business analytics more significant and effective
Robotization in financial management will be just another aspect of a digital society in which information technology is ubiquitous, forming an integral part of the operating environments of people and businesses. A world in which computer technology is embedded in objects of all kinds (the ‘Internet of Things’) will include groups of robots operating virtually in automated financial management and networked as part of a larger intelligent entity.
Kaivo-oja sees the emergence of this ‘Internet of Things’ as the most powerful force shaping future business models.
Businesses will develop predictive analytics, and financial management will have a key role to play in this. Companies are surrounded by enormous amounts of data and information, and financial management will be able to utilize this in its predictive analytics work. Companies refusing to recognize the importance of big data or cloud computing will inevitably find themselves sidelined. Knowledge management is now being reshaped in a new and significant way.
Kaivo-oja believes it is important that companies make use of a wide range of information in the form of predictive business analytics, diagnoses, prognoses and operating guidelines for decision-making.
Will robots crush motivation?
The best robots will easily beat the world’s top chess players. But will robotic systems render financial management experts unnecessary?
Highly unlikely of course, but competence requirements in financial management will certainly change, rising from their present level.
In a globalized world, says Kaivo-oja, considerably more attention should be directed at the operating environment and other companies, and at movements of information and cash flows. This could include looking at how other companies operate in comparison with us.
“With the arrival of robotization, traditional theories of leadership and management can be tossed aside. Questions of motivation are also being considered in a new light. How will experts be able to maintain their motivation when they see superior robots in action? Management must also take these issues seriously.”
How can robotic systems be introduced in a controlled manner? What kind of networking can ensure that financial management becomes part of an intelligent ‘Internet of Things’? Research Director Jari Kaivo-oja highlighted some of the key questions concerning robotization in corporate financial management.