Boards must consider oversight—and their skill levels—when it comes to managing new technology and innovation in their business, according to a report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
The report, Race for Relevance: Technology opportunities for the finance function, questioned more than 50 senior accounting executives about the opportunities and challenges presented by new technology.
In addition, the whole board should look at its own skill sets, and consider using non-executives to help plug gaps in technology and innovation knowledge. The report also highlighted the importance of the chief financial officer in developing clear paths for managing legal and procurement risks concerning IT, as well as enhanced scenario planning and risk mitigation to deal with cybersecurity.
Emergent technologies and more sophisticated cyber-attacks means IT teams cannot be left in isolation to handle just disaster recovery—planning needs to be more encompassing and complex.
“The revolution has started and adaptation is critical,” said Maggie McGhee, director of professional insights at ACCA. “Adopting new technology needs to be a high priority for finance.”
While there are organisational and developmental benefits from the finance function using a single, clean dataset, the management of the information is also a key area of governance—particularly in the context of EU data protection rules under GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
“CFOs must build structures that reflect the new risks that will emerge through technology adoption, from basic contract questions to the challenges of regulation such as the coming GDPR,” states the report. “By identifying and mitigating these risks ahead of time, CFOs will ensure that new tools solve key business problems rather than creating new ones.”