A PwC survey of Chief Financial Officers has found increased automation and artificial intelligence are expected to drastically change the finance function within organisations over the next three years.

However, the vast majority of CFOs say they do not feel ready to seize on the opportunity. 

The survey also found that the country's finance leaders are less confident about the future prospects for the economy compared to two years ago.

57% of CFOs said they have a favourable view about the overall prospects for the Irish economy in the year ahead, but this is down from 81% in 2016.

Irish chief finance officers also believe that more planning is needed for Brexit.

According to today's report, 68% of CFOs said they were either not prepared or had not made extensive plans for the consequences of Brexit.  

38% said that their organisation's level of trade with the UK would decline as a result of Brexit.  

However, CFOs also pointed to a silver lining of Brexit opportunities, including stronger relationships with like minded member states, diversification into new markets and products and increased FDI and jobs into Ireland and a greater focus on improved cost competitiveness (13%). 

On the prospects for their companies, 71% anticipate growth in revenues in the year ahead, slightly down from the 76% in 2016 but much improved on 2012.

44% anticipate growth in profits in the year ahead, down substantially down 67% in 2016 and 55% in 2012.

The survey also revealed that 43% anticipate growth in headcount in the year ahead, down from 48% in 2016.

Amy Ball, Partner for Performance Improvement at PwC Ireland, said that Ireland's finance leaders are more cautious about the future performance of Ireland’s economy as well as about some of their key business metrics such as profits and costs. 

She said it is likely that Brexit is also adding to the uncertainty for many. 

"With more restructuring on the cards, finance leaders are challenged to sustain growth with many actively looking at ways to build business models that are fit for the future," Ms Ball said. 

"Going forward, technology and automation will be key to the survival of the fittest. And getting this investment right first time will be critical," she added.