CFO and CTO? It’s the CFTO next

  • The rising role of technology in business may see the CFTO as a regular seat on the board
  • ACCA and IMA make this prediction at start of CFO Month, based on two research reports

CFO and CTO? It’s the CFTO nextGREATER reliance on technology could see the rise of the chief financial and technology officer (CFTO) in 2014, according to the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA (Institute of Management Accountants), citing two recent studies.
“ACCA and IMA’s research in 2013 has pointed to greater technological involvement for CFOs (chief financial officers) across the world,” said ACCA chief executive Helen Brand.
“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,” she added.
The first of the two 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 technology trends – among them mobile and cybercrime – finance professionals identified as having an impact on their roles and the businesses they worked within, the ACCA said in a statement.
“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,” said Brand.
“CFOs are agents of change within today’s businesses, which means they have to be at the forefront of technological developments.
“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 of the CFTO as a regular seat on the board,” she added.
The second report, Big data: its power and perils, highlighted the potential for business of all sizes, governments and regulators in harnessing unstructured information.
In this report, 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, the ACCA and IMA said.
“Big data has yet to reach its full potential, but CFOs will need to be at the forefront of using such data,” said IMA president and chief executive officer Jeff Thomson.
“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,” he added.
The ACCA and IMA also announced all of January as ‘CFO Month,’ which recognises the central role finance chiefs play in business strategy, as well as to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities they face now and in the future. For more, click on the video below:

Related stories:
Big data spells big opportunity for finance profession: ACCA
Finance SSO industry faces talent crunch: ACCA survey
Cyber-security among top concerns for APAC senior execs
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