One in five chief financial officers views automation technology as the most important investment priority over the next five years.
A study by BDO showed that 87 per cent of businesses surveyed have automated a key process over the past year, while 9 per cent of total company spend is dedicated to implementing automated processes such as robotics and artificial intelligence.
As well as this, 21 per cent of respondents said automation would create jobs, finds the study.
BDO spoke to 200 CFOs and financial directors across the UK to understand how important automation is to their businesses.
The report, New Economy: Investing in Automation, shows that a third of businesses (31 per cent) have already introduced artificial intelligence (AI) into their day-to-day operations, while a quarter of businesses (24 per cent) make use of robotics.
It says 67 per cent of CFOs in the professional services sector are considering or have already implemented AI.
One in five (22 per cent) finance heads supports the view that automation poses a threat to job security. However, 21 per cent believe that more jobs will be created as automation provides new growth opportunities for businesses.
According to the report, 39 per cent of finance heads have invested in more training to help staff to make the most of automated processes.
Tony Spillett, head of technology and media at BDO, said that automation was having a transformative impact on businesses.
"How leaders approach it in the coming years will be crucial both for their own businesses as well as society more broadly," said Spillett. "While some caution is required, particularly given the potential for physical and financial upheaval, all businesses, no matter their size, sector or structure, must come to terms with the role it will play in our future and explore the opportunities it can bring.
"What's clear is that many companies are only just getting started and are taking an open-minded approach. It's important to recognise that investing in automation can provide not just greater capabilities for the business as a whole, but greater opportunities for employees, with expanding skill sets and knowledge."