By Jeff Thomson, CMA, CAE, IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) President and CEO
Since my early career days in the telecommunications industry, people have always waited with baited breath for new technologies that could help businesses excel.
The accounting profession, in particular, is influenced by technology, and accountants can expect changes over the next decade and beyond.
A recent report from ACCA and IMA, “Digital Darwinism: thriving in the face of technology change,” focuses on 10 technology trends with the potential to reshape the profession and business landscape significantly. The most important trend identified was the rise in mobile.
Accountants are well aware of the significance of mobile. In fact, 78% of CFOs surveyed said mobile technology will have a large impact on their business in the years ahead.
The number of mobile phones overtook fixed lines in 2002, and while the numbers are still being counted, 2013 may be the year when internet-connected mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets trumped the number of desktop and laptop computers.
Mobile technology changes how, when, and where people can work and how effectively they can do their jobs, with 24/7 access to the office network and the cloud. Mobile commerce is intensifying. More and more products and services are bought and sold using m-commerce applications, mobile devices, and wireless payment terminals.
Accountants and the businesses they work for can seize the opportunities that mobile devices and targeted apps can bring.
For example, mobile technology can:
- create faster and more connected workforces
- enable access to information ‘anywhere, anytime’ to increase productivity
- empower managers and employees to make informed decisions faster
- support collaboration across the business
- make products and services more accessible
- create new products and services
- improve agility to help grasp new opportunities as they arise
- help predict financial performance with greater accuracy
Accountants are exploiting mobile technologies for productivity and efficiency gains, bringing businesses closer to their clients and suppliers, and staying connected to them, whether they are in the office or remote. Numerous mobile devices are being combined with cloud services to provide ‘anywhere, anytime’ access to specialist software and the associated business and finance data.
Our research found that 80% of accountants expect the profession’s adoption of mobile technologies to become widespread within the next two years.
Finance professionals already enjoy the convenience of mobile access to enterprise information. Accountants are also taking the opportunity to accelerate the cycle times for key processes, eliminating bottlenecks, reducing operational costs and improving productivity—leveraging all of this to become more strategic.
You can read more about the technology trends that are impacting the accounting profession by visiting the ACCA and IMA website, www.roleofcfo.com.