January 19, 2021

Statoil CFO Happy With His Robots; Later, Humans

statoil robots finance

Last fall, we mentioned Roberta, the newest and most efficient member of Statoil’s treasury department. Today, The Wall Street Journal reports that she’s been joined recently by several new co-workers, including one named Rob, and the Norwegian company’s CFO, Hans Jakob Hegge, seems to be enjoying them on a personal level:

“I am not sure whether they are a couple. They are certainly related,” Mr. Hegge told CFO Journal in an interview on Friday.

Okay, he’s maybe not enjoying them, but he’s acknowledging the possibility that they have some connection and that’s far less than humans expect. In fact, he’s far exceeding the amount of personal interest that robots require. Regardless, there’s little doubt that the Rob-bots are proving useful and exceeding Hegge’s expectations:

Statoil has automated over 50 finance and treasury tasks and plans to grow the number of robots deployed in its finance unit, Mr. Hegge said. “This helps us to improve efficiency,” Mr. Hegge said.

Statoil has reduced its finance department from 1,400 in 2013 to 897 in 2017, and if you thought that was the end of doing more with robots and less with humans, you would be wrong:

“We will continue to shrink the finance function in terms of our full-time employees,” [Hegge] said.

Will the last human out of Statoil could turn out the lights? And maybe leave a bit of personality behind for the bots to tinker with? That’d be great.


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