CFOs Must Tackle Technology in the New Year

CFOs and football players have a lot in common. They plan their route around competitors with strategic thinking, they evaluate their previous decisions for future success, and they’re continuously learning new techniques to stay ahead of the curve. The biggest “play” CFOs can make in the future is becoming sharp with new technological advances.

Big data, cyber security, cloud technology, digital service delivery, and even artificial intelligence and robotics are the linebackers in the room who are changing business strategies. Who would have thought 10 years ago that these trends would become part of the CFO’s role?

CFO Month

Because of the ever-evolving role of the CFO, and the fluctuating business landscape, IMA® and strategic partner ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) have marked January as “CFO Month” with this year’s theme being technology.

IMA and ACCA are always thinking ahead. This means we realize the impact  technology has on how CFOs do business, and it’0s our joint goal to provide the most informative resources possible to aid them in their roles.Together we support CFOs and aspiring professionals as they step into broader, more strategic roles. In the year ahead, we could also see the rise of the chief financial and technology officer (CFTO) as an important member of an organization’s leadership team.

IMA and ACCA research reports, such as “Digital Darwinism: Thriving in the Face of Technology Change” and “Big Data: Its Power and Perils,” revealed technological trends that will affect business in the future. There’s a future of opportunity out there for businesses that embrace technology and harness the increasing amount of data available for decision making.

Organizations of all sizes can use technology and big data to gain a competitive advantage. CFOs are at the forefront of this exciting business transformation. Like any other business transformation, CFOs need to take a balanced approach that includes technology enablement for information delivery, risk management, internal controls, fraud/cyber security, and ethical concerns to help lead organizations successfully into the future.

While no one has a crystal ball to predict the future, we can confidently say that tomorrow’s finance profession will have a distinctly technological flavor to it. How do you think technology will affect how you do business in the year ahead?

Written by Jeff Thomson, CMA, CAE

Follow me on Twitter @ima_JeffThomson

Related articles:

Mobile Devices Expected to Take Over in the New Year

ACCA and IMA Mark CFO Month with a Tech Focus

CFOs Have Bigger Roles Than Ever Before — And They Like It That Way

8 thoughts on “CFOs Must Tackle Technology in the New Year

  1. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed
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  2. Thank you Jeff. As a fellow member of the IMA’s Technology Solutions and Practices group, I respect your experiential insight tremendously on the strategic trends that we would do well to not just consider, but incorporate in our operations. Risk and priorities are always important factors in technology adoption, but there is a lost opportunity in “same old same old” too. Competitive advantages flow from savvy implementation of new applications that speed the flow of trustworthy financial and non-financial information to decision-makers and process operators. These are exciiting times for the intersection of CRO and CIO roles.

    • Very thoughtful insights, Chris! Roles in the C-suite are indeed converging as you note, because that is the path to sustainable value creation and delivery (vs. silo’s). Keep up your great work on IMA’s Technology committee!!

  3. On critical aspect of assessing technology that I see often overlooked is the tangible and intangible gains. On both sides of the spectrum people can either get enamoured with the “latest and greatest” or with status quo. The comment on balance is spot on – A balanced, progressive approach that looks at current business needs that are not being met tied to a value quotient typically results in a “journey” type mentality vs. a project once every 5-10 years. It also will weed out non or low value added technologies before the investment in time and resources is made.

    • Like “soft skills,” intangible benefits may be undervalued because they are difficult to quantify, but I would place some value on employee surveys, for example, addressing workplace satisfaction, morale, engagement and the like. It is also possible that we can actually measure some of those intangibles with some effort. Being more data-driven or data-centric in decision-making has been touted, but some input I have received over the last year persuades me that quite a bit of decision-making is subjective anyway. So, I agree with Mark’s analysis on balance and believe that we should both try harder to measure benefits of new technology adoption and focus on the data that is developed as a result and a way to validate the adoption decisions.

  4. Very thoughtful insights, Chris! Roles in the C-suite are indeed converging as you note, because that is the path to sustainable value creation and delivery (vs. silo’s). Keep up your great work on IMA’s Technology committee!!

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