A new report by the Professional Accountants in Business Committee (PAIB) of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) provides insight into the future of the finance profession amidst rapid technological changes and digital disruption. The 37-page report, titled “A Vision for the Finance Professional and the Finance Function,” was developed based on an interactive workshop of key PAIB committee members and stakeholders. It covers:
- The customer perspective of the finance function: opportunities and challenges
- Building awareness of the latest in digital and technology developments
- Future finance vision and development roadmap
- The finance professional profile of the future
- Key skills needed for technology competence
In his remarks in the report, PAIB Committee Chair Charles Tilley said, “Digital disruption will significantly impact finance and accounting roles – from business partner to specialist roles in reporting, tax, and internal and external audit. It will involve people working closely with machines and software, creating a digitally enabled finance function that is more efficient and enables a much higher contribution to the business.”
Among those who contributed to the workshop was Larry White, CMA, CFM, CSCA, CPA, former IMA Board Chair and current Global Board member, who discussed some of the opportunities and challenges for financial professionals in the public sector. White, executive director of the Resource Consumption Accounting (RCA) Institute, is a former commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Finance Center. Among the public sector challenges discussed were the importance of effective resource allocation, relevant data and insights, and communication to senior policy makers, politicians, and the public.
White said, “Many of the issues discussed at this workshop were those that IMA has identified, in particular the evolving role of the management accountant in the face of technological change. IMA’s new Management Accounting Competency Framework, now out for public comment, further identifies those skills that management accountants will need to succeed in the digital age.”
The report makes reference to other IFAC/PAIC resources that are now available:
- Identifying the Role of the Finance Function in Enterprise Performance Management, which discusses how finance professionals and the finance function can capture relevance based on four key enablers: data and models; technology; talent and skills; culture and mindset.
- Blockchain: Impact on Business, Finance, and Accounting, which explains the fundamental concepts in blockchain, provides a broad overview of developments in blockchain and use cases, and highlights the potential role of finance and accounting professionals.
As a member of IFAC, IMA contributes to the organization’s mission of strengthening the accounting profession through global initiatives, including the PAIB Committee. IFAC is comprised of over 175 members and associates in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing almost three million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce. The PAIB Committee provides leadership and guidance on relevant issues pertaining to professional accountants in business and the business environments in which they work.