International finance experts, including executives of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), have made a case for a change of orientation among peers, saying technology has altered the course of professional practice.
Speaking at a webinar on ‘data analytics in finance, the finance experts said data was not only a challenge but the “people aspects” needed to make the required switch to enable businesses to leapfrog to the operating model.
They deliberated on the benefits of data analytics and how businesses enterprises could leverage it to transform their operations and income. They concluded that organisations would benefit more if data science was democratised even though the finance team should necessarily take the lead and ownership of data mining and utilisation.
There was a question on how the future of finance experts could navigate the knowledge gap and other challenges to remain relevant to their employers. The facilitators called for regular up-skilling, especially in emerging trends and technologies.
The President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), Prof. Muhammad Akaro Mainoma, said finance has come to stay as a core activity in business operations. He, however, said professionals must regularly update their skills and expand their knowledge horizons to remain relevant.
ACCA Global Head of Business Management, Clive Webb, charged finance professionals to be size opportunities and be more “forward-looking”. He listed the barriers as adequate use of analytics as poor knowledge of available applications as well as what they can do, lack of date strategy, absence of support culture, and skill gap.
Also speaking, Executive Director, Finance and Operations, ACCA, Raymond Jack, made a case for data analytics, saying its adoption would help in achieving better, cheaper, and faster decision-making. He called on experts to continue to mainstream data into their finance functions.
Head of Data and Intelligence at a United Kingdom-based NTT Data, Simon Driscoll, said data, which he described as the key to unlocking value, is increasingly recognised as a respected asset in modern organisations. He pointed out 2022 as the year “from which companies will be valued on their information portfolios”.
“The people aspects rather than technologies are the greatest to secure benefits from data and intelligence,” he said, listing skill gap, low data literacy, high expectations, trust issues, and strategy misalignment as limiting factors.