NEW YORK and LONDON, Dec. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) must develop a roadmap to adopt new technologies in order to remain competitive and relevant amid a fast-moving digital landscape, according to a new report by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).
The report, Race for Relevance: Technology opportunities for the finance function, explores the opportunities and challenges that technology presents for the future CFO function in the face of extraordinary digital change impacting businesses. The report shares insights from leading executives across the world on the technologies changing the face of the finance function, and examines how finance can harness the explosion in digital capabilities to help drive long-term corporate value.
"CFOs need to develop a roadmap that enables them to recognize the short-term benefits and the longer-term gains," said Kathy Liu, Chief Financial Officer at Kizan International, Inc. and ACCA member who contributed to the report. "They need to accept that with these technologies it is often better to fail fast and be able to move on, rather than to not try at all. The core elements of people, processes, technology and data thread through any activity. Addressing each of these within an organizational culture that supports innovation and creativity is important for harnessing emerging technologies."
The ACCA members interviewed for this research urged CFOs to build a coherent and logical program for technology adoption – which ACCA calls six imperatives for success:
- Align the strategy: Understand the organization's wider goals and how finance, using technology, can best support these ambitions.
- Build the business case: Identify the business case for using specific tools and solutions.
- Appreciate the value of data: Explore how CFOs can make better use of data and analytics throughout finance and beyond.
- Managing the organizational impact of technological change: Identify the organizational change required to embed new technologies successfully.
- Focus on talent and skills: Equip the organization with the people and skills base needed to exploit the technology.
- Assess the impact of technology on governance and risk management: Ensure that investments are made with rigor and that the risks created by new technologies are properly monitored and controlled.
Collectively, these technologies enable enhanced finance processes, support the communication of information both internally and externally, provide protection for information assets, and look to the future while building upon existing technologies.
"Whatever the size of the business, technology change is having an impact. In this corporate race for future relevance, recognizing the opportunity is essential," Ms. Liu said. "The revolution has started and adaptation is critical. Adopting new technology needs to be a high priority for finance."
However, ACCA cautioned that CFOs who fail to take advantage of the opportunities could be removed from the strategic decision-making process and marginalized at the leadership table. CFOs and finance leaders must understand how technology can enable them to transform the finance function through the provision of brilliant, timely decision insights for business stakeholders in addition to its existing stewardship and reporting roles.
CFOs need to consider the impact of key technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), cloud, analytics, social media, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence on finance. To achieve the goal of transforming the finance function, the CFO must understand the emerging technologies and the opportunities available.
"CFOs who embrace new tools and technologies have a huge opportunity to put finance at the center of their enterprise's value creation," Ms. Liu said. "Failure to do so will risk the future value that finance can achieve."
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. We support our 198,000 members and 486,000 students in 180 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of 101 offices and centres and more than 7,291 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. For more information, visit www.accaglobal.com
SOURCE ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)