Research from Oracle and personal finance expert Farnoosh Torabi found 55% of consumers and business experts trusted a robot more than a human to manage finances. 

Additionally, 49% of consumers trusted robots over personal financial advisers, and could help to assist detect fraud (27%), help reduce spending (14%), and make stock market investments (11%). 

In more worrying data for the financial advice sector, 33% of consumers believe robots will replace financial advisers in the next five years. 

Read: 9 things to look for in a financial planner

Around 63% of consumers said they wanted robots to help them manage their finances by freeing up time (31%), reducing unnecessary spending (24%), and increasing on-time payments (20%). 

Ms Torabi said the survey suggested financial advisers would need to upskill in order to compete with their new artificial competition. 

“Managing finances is tough at the best of times, and the financial uncertainty of the global pandemic has exacerbated financial challenges at home and at work,” Ms Torabi said.

“Robots are well-positioned to assist – they are great with numbers and don’t have the same emotional connection with money.

"This doesn’t mean finance professionals are going away or being replaced entirely, but the research suggests they should focus on developing additional soft skills as their role evolves.”

The survey found COVID had drastically changed peoples' relationship with money, with 86% experiencing financial fears like job loss (39%), losing savings (38%), and never getting out of debt (29%). 

These concerns are keeping people up at night, with 41% of consumers reporting losing sleep due to their personal finance woes. 

The pandemic has also changed how people interact with businesses, with 51% citing it had impacted how they buy goods and services. 

Cash-out? Or is cash out? 

Cash may no longer be king, with 65% of respondents stating 2020 had changed how they felt about handling cash.

Other responses to cash now include feeling anxious (27%), dirty (20%), and fearful (18%).

More than a fifth of consumers said cash-only was a deal-breaker for doing business. 

Juergen Lindner, senior vice president of global marketing at Oracle, said 2020 had accelerated the trend of financial processes becoming increasingly digital. 

"Digital is the new normal and technologies such as artificial intelligence and chatbots play a vital role in managing finance," Mr Lindner said.

"Our research indicates that consumers trust these technologies to accelerate their financial well-being over personal financial advisors and business leaders see this trend reshaping the role of corporate finance professionals.

"Organisations that don’t embrace these changes risk falling behind their peers and competitors; hurting employee productivity, morale and well-being; and struggling to attract the next generation of AI-empowered finance talent.”

The survey found businesses had been quick to respond to this shift, with 63% of business leaders investing in digital payment capabilities and 53% creating new forms of customer engagement in response to COVID. 

Consumers seem increasingly keen to welcome their new robot overlords into society, with a recent study revealing almost a fifth would adopt a microchip into their hand to make payments.

Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash