Midlands businesses allocating most investment towards automation

Richard Rose

In the first of a series of CFO surveys, accountancy and business advisory firm BDO spoke to 200 CFOs and Financial Directors across the UK to understand how important automation is to their business.

The report, New Economy: Investing in Automation, shows that senior leaders across the country expect automation to be pivotal to their businesses and employees’ development in the coming year.

Across the UK, 87% have automated a key business process during the last year and one in five (21%) CFOs view automation as their most important investment priority during the next five years.

In the Midlands, senior leaders are already investing in automation, with 11% of total company spend being dedicated to implementing automated processes, the highest of all regions.

88% of businesses in this region have also already automated a key process, such as accountancy and finance processes or customer support, in the last year. In addition, 10% of businesses in the Midlands view automation as the most important investment priority for the next year, and this figure doubles when looking ahead to the next five years.

Around two fifths of finance heads in the Midlands believe that automation will change their workforce. Contrary to prevailing opinion, many finance heads in the Midlands (20%) believe the impact on jobs is likely to be positive increasing the workforce as automation provides growth opportunities. Interestingly, nearly the same number (24%) also think it will lead to negative changes too. CFOs and FDs in the region are also helping increase their employee’s skill set, with 4 in 10 (39%) already investing in training, to help equip staff to make the most of automated processes.

Richard Rose, partner and Head of BDO in the West Midlands, said: “The Midlands has a strong reputation for its entrepreneurial spirit and it’s really encouraging to see businesses with plans for investment in automation which should help to increase productivity, encourage innovation and reinvent roles and sectors which in turn boost the economy. With it being perfectly placed for logistics, the region, the potential for growth for those who embrace these new technologies is huge, and it could definitely result in an increased competitive edge for business across the country.”