In this quickly changing era, it can be difficult for companies to look ahead as many simply struggle to keep pace with the rapid transformation. Accountants and CFOs make changes based on current knowledge of their financial environment. These decisions often rely on lagging indicators. Rather than create value, most financial professionals compute and measure value. Though most CFOs acknowledge business transformation in recent years, few have shifted their focus to different activities. While the market continues to change due to a mix of regulation, digitization, and globalization, the finance and accounting departments remain stagnant. In order to effectively manage the future of finance, professionals require new skills and training. The role of the CFO is expanding. Those who wish to cultivate value and instill a competitive advantage must move beyond the traditional responsibilities of a financial professional and develop into strategic financial innovators.
One way to adapt to market change is to embrace the opportunity that accompanies it. A slew of digital options is reinventing how financial professionals do their jobs, enabling employees to move from compliance and transaction-based work to analysis, risk mitigation, and strategic improvement. Emerging technologies such as advanced analytics, in-memory computing, cognitive computing, and artificial intelligence are transforming business. For example, the rising prevalence of blockchain, a digital ledger originally devised for the digital currency Bitcoin, has begun to shape the financial industry. Blockchain has the ability to record anything of value including money, equities, bonds, titles, and deeds. These assets can be moved from peer to peer by establishing network consensus, cryptography, and code. The collaboration enabled by blockchain greatly reduces transactional risk. Other disruptive technologies such as cloud computing and automation have contributed to the ease and security of financial processes. This technology has led to exponential growth in data. This allows companies to incorporate far more information when making critical business decisions- how risky is this client? What are the likely outcomes of engaging in business with this client? By adopting these innovations, CFOs can focus time on driving value creation through applying intellectual assets and human capital.
Retooling the talent pool will require time, diligence, and investment. As financial professionals begin to transform from tactical to strategic, they will serve as financial interpreters who understand the story behind the machine-generated data and act with influence and impact to enhance holistic firm operations. Financial professionals will communicate the data-driven firm strategy to stakeholders.
Finance leaders of the future will be bold. Not only will they learn something, they will become something.
Dare to be BOLD.
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