ACCA reveals four imperatives for CFOs wanting to add value through technology

ACCA's Thomas Isibor says finance has to prepare and adapt to meet transformative challenges.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is currently introducing major innovations to its qualification to ensure its members and future members remain up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals. This initiative has highlighted the key drivers that are already changing business processes, people and services. 

The association says that technology is already creating the most seismic impact on the finance, audit and accountancy functions of businesses, and the industry is in a race for future relevance.

This means that the finance function within businesses will need to prepare and adapt to meet transformative challenges. 

ACCA Nigeria head Thomas Isibor says: 

“Few sectors are going to experience the impact of new tech more than finance and accountancy. Preparing now for the inevitability of change is even more vital for these functions, and forward-thinking should be every business’s strategic priority.”

Thomas says that challenges such as digital, risk, the global economy, politics, legislation, cyber security, ethics, even climate change, are all set to impact business and the finance department in potentially unimagined ways.

ACCA says that although many factors will influence the evolution of the accountancy profession, their global research among C-suite and finance and accountancy professionals reveals some overarching themes. These highlight the drivers that are expected to exert the most influence on the profession in the future. They are: 

  • Regulation and governance,
  • Digital technologies,
  • Expectations,
  • Globalisation, and
  • External drivers.

ACCA has also identified four broad imperatives for any CFO or partner looking to optimise how technology can add – and not detract – value from their organisation: The imperatives are:

  1. to understand how to use the information available to them to provide strategic insight in real time,
  2. to think forwards not backwards and maximise the use of technology to do this,
  3. to ensure they have in place effective and efficient processes that satisfy the overall business requirements of finance, and
  4. to capture, measure, report and predict future performance in a much more agile manner to support better and quicker decision-making.

Thomas says that preparation and readiness now is key. 

“No technology has ever made an impact without first being adopted by people. The sooner we recast this challenge as one of people and processes, the sooner we’ll make progress. We have to be ready for what lies ahead.”