Greater reliance on technology could see the rise of the Chief Financial and Technology Officer (CFTO) in 2014, says the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Institute of Management Accountants at the start of CFO Month.
For what is the second ever CFO Month, ACCA and IMA are marking the annual campaign, which champions the work of the chief finance officer role, with a technology-focused theme.
CFO Month recognises the central role finance chiefs play in business strategy, as well as raising awareness of the challenges and opportunities they face now and in the future.
“ACCA and IMA’s futures research in 2013 has pointed to greater technological involvement for CFOs across the world," says Leong Soo Yee, Head, ACCA Singapore. "Their involvement in big data and technology trends is critical to business growth and profit. As CFOs take on a more strategic and globally-focused outlook within business, technology will loom larger in their remit."
Cyber security, cloud technology, virtual and augmented reality, digital service delivery and even artificial intelligence and robotics are featuring more and more in business strategy, according to Leong.
"Chief finance officers are agents of change within today’s businesses, which means they are at the forefront of technological. Who would have thought 10 years ago that these trends would become part of the CFO role? They are and will continue to do so. We could see the rise and rise of the CFTO as a regular seat on the board.”
In 2013 two key reports from ACCA and IMA showed how technology was impacting upon the CFO’s role. Digital Darwinism: thriving in the face of technology change pointed to the 10 technologies finance professionals identified as having an impact on their roles and the businesses they worked within. Mobile technology and cybercrime being just two such technology trends that were changing the role of the CFO.
A second report from ACCA and IMA Big data: its power and perils highlighted the potential for business of all sizes, governments and regulators in harnessing this wealth of unstructured information.
The report found that 62% of CFOs across the world cited big data as hugely important to the future of business, potentially giving savvy businesses an edge on their competitors.
The volume and variety of data able to be collected by businesses and governments is increasing at intense rate, providing a potential treasure trove of information. The ability to organise, make sense and analyse it is at the core of the substantial investments that corporations are making.
“Big data has yet to reach its full potential, but CFOs will need to be at the forefront of using such data," says Jeff Thomson, CMA, CAE, IMA president and CEO. Its value is vital to a business, but potential legal and ethical pitfalls remain. Finance professionals have a public duty to act within the parameters of the law and are responsible for using big data in an appropriate way.”