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CFO not exploiting technology

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A recent report by the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) has revealed that finance organisations are not using technology to its full potential and thus could be missing out bringing more value to this sector.

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are not taking the lead in fully exploiting emerging financial technologies, according to a report recently released by the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA),

There seems to be reluctance by CFOs, even when these financial technologies are proven to be beneficial to the company.

The report, titled Is Finance Function Technology Delivering On Its Promise?, was a result of in-depth interviews with finance executives across a range of businesses, including Shell, Aviva, Kimberly-Clark, Deloitte and Accenture. The results suggest that finance organisations are not using technology to its full potential and, in turn, could be missing out on bringing more value to the sector.

The report further suggests that the real opportunity for CFOs, is to champion the adoption of transformative technology and predictive capability tools to support decision making. However, this remains a work in progress for most.

The problem is that the technology landscape is still complex and fragmented for most finance functions,” says Jamie Lyon, Head of Corporate Sector at ACCA. “It is further suggested that there are other issues impeding the sector from fully exploiting technology. Some of these issues call for a change in behaviour, vision and culture within the finance function to really move us towards a tangible technological change.

According to Mike O’Brien, General Manager of accounting and software applications at FinancialForce.com, traditionally CFOs have been confined to the office, but mobile apps can allow them to venture into the field.

It’s about personal freedom for the individual as much as it is about the benefit to the business,” says O’Brien.

Apps have spawned their own mini-economy. Developers of the most popular apps have made millions. The app stores that host their creations have also made money out of taking a percentage.

According to CFO-Insight.com, Apple still leads Android in the apps market, with the Apple Store having an estimated 18 billion downloads. In fact, Apple has sold so many iPhones and iPads that it can afford to make its apps incompatible with Android, Blackberry and Windows phones. But the opposite is not true. The popular Google Maps app, for instance, is available on all devices, even though Google would clearly like it to be an Android-only app.

CFO-insight.com has listed the following as the top 8 CFO Apps for 2014: Apple’s iWork, Bloomberg, Cloud, CamScanner, Documents to go, Data Vault, LinkedIn and TripIt.

Finance can, through technology, eliminate its preoccupation with processes,” says Deborah Kops, principal at Sourcing Change and co-author of the ACCA report. “Harnessing technologies that mine data for patterns means that the function can become a game changer for business. Kops added, “We should also acknowledge that the application of technology has the potential to change further what a finance career means. If technology increasingly automates transactional finance and is also able to mine insights at the same time, it will change what it means to be a finance professional as well as the capabilities needed.

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