Finance professionals must embrace technology to remain relevant in a rapidly changing economic landscape, experts have said.
They spoke at the second edition of the CGMA Speaks Series, organised by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) in Lagos with the theme: “Future of Finance.”
Moderated by the Executive Vice President, Academics, the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), Dr. Noel Tagoe, speakers at the event, also emphasised the need for finance professionals to understand and translate data into insight for right decision-making by chief executive officers.
The Executive Chairman, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Dotun Sulaiman, who has chaired the event, said finance functions would be altered by certain forces of change from the global economy, including demography, urbanisation, scarcity of resources and technology.
He stated that as a broad response to the changing role of finance, “it would be important for finance to take a keen interest in technology innovation and keep abreast of the developments and for finance executives to strive for a level of familiarity with technology innovations”, warning that “organisations that are blindsided by these technology innovations will lose out.”
The National Senior Partner, KPMG Nigeria, Kunle Elebute, who was represented by the Head, Risk Consulting, KPMG Nigeria, Olumide Olayinka, said organisations must operate intelligent finance functions. He also added that chief financial officers should utilise business intelligence tools such as the enterprise resource planning software and decision support tools to mitigate future financial risk.
“Essentially, your finance function has to be intelligent. In fact, finance is not separate from risk because people try to put them into different buckets, but finance functions are the same as risk. This is because the things that will have financial implications are multifaceted. So, the finance function of tomorrow has to be extremely intelligent. It must have business intelligence tools, both financial and non-financial, and all of these have an impact on the future of finance,” he said.
The Managing Director, Chapel Hill Denham Management, Onouju Irukwu, said finance professionals must operate beyond numbers by turning the data available into insights to earn the respect of their superiors and clients.