Sunday, June 16, 2024

Wales Leads UK in Full-time Office Work for Finance Professionals

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Wales has more finance professionals working in the office full-time than anywhere else in the UK.

Research conducted by ACCA, the leading global accountancy body, showed that 38% of finance workers in Wales were in the office full-time. Only 52% of Wales’ finance professionals work in a hybrid pattern, the lowest of the UK nations surveyed.

However, there is a trade-off between productivity and team collaboration highlighted by the survey, with 68% saying working remotely improves their productivity, and 49% saying it makes team collaboration harder.

Respondents did cite benefits of being in the office in addition to improved collaboration, including workplace cultural reinforcement and adoption, particularly for new hires, organic learning and networking opportunities.

Lloyd Powell, head of ACCA Cymru/Wales, added:

“Wales offers a diverse range of opportunities for those working in accountancy roles.

“We know from the many employers that we work with across Wales that attracting and retaining accounting and finance talent is a key focus, and that offering training, professional development and other employee benefits is something they are implementing in a competitive job market. The higher than UK average percentage of workers in the office full-time in Wales is interesting, and we’ll continue to monitor this from an employee and employer perspective.”

The research also showed that most finance professionals think AI will add value and reduce data-heavy tasks.

It showed that 66% of finance professionals reported feeling positive about AI, with 71% keen for more training on AI to better understand it and integrate it into work.

Just 22% of respondents said the pace of change in technology at work was a concern and that they felt overwhelmed by the rapid rate at which technology was advancing and changing.  However, the global average for this was 37%, indicating that UK finance professionals feel more prepared and resilient in the face of change than their global peers.

Concerns raised by respondents around AI included job displacement, qualifications taking longer, and the risks of AI such as privacy, security and ethical use of data, as well as potential issues of over-reliance on AI.

Joe Fitzsimons, senior manager, Policy & Insights, ACCA UK, and author of the report said:

“The responses from UK finance professionals in this survey around AI reflects a growing conversation about how technology will change the future of work. It is positive to see that two third of respondents are optimistic about the role of AI and even more are keen to understand it more through training and upskilling. While UK finance professionals are more optimistic than their global peers, there is still a long way to go in full rollout of AI in organisations, and ACCA will continue to provide insight, research and support for a smooth transition.”

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