CFOs must learn to ride the digital wave

China's digital transformation poses challenges and brings new opportunities, requiring new skills from Chief Financial Officers.

Chief Financial Officers must learn to ride the country’s digital transformation wave and understand how such changes will impact accounting policies and compliance and processes as well as the markets and industry sectors, a summit in Shanghai heard yesterday.

Industry experts agreed that digital transformation is happening at a rapid pace, which has not only brought many new and successful business models but also presented significant challenges.

As automation and artificial intelligence technology reshape the core functions of accounting, fundamental accounting activities such as cash expenditures and revenue management have been fully automated, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants CFO Summit 2018 heard.

To cope with these changes, Jenny Gu, deputy president of the association, said CFOs need to rethink technology, skill sets and talents, including harnessing the new strengths of millennials and new risk control methods.

“One of ACCA’s crucial roles is to generate eye-opening insights and keep a watch on emerging trends,” said Gu,

“By doing this, we enable CFOs in China to ride the current wave together with the enterprises we serve and advise those that are undergoing digital transformation.”

 The increasingly digitalized economic environment calls for professionals who also bring other skill sets such as an understanding of social trends and the cultural capabilities of multi-lingual talents.

But people remain the cornerstone of any enterprise's development, the ACCA said.

While injecting new skills and blood into corporate development, millennials also pose challenges for talent retention policies.

As such, it has become one of the key issues facing CFOs to reduce the risk of professional knowledge loss due to high personnel turnover.

Additionally, digital transformation requires CFOs to conduct risk management dialogues and practices in a much more diversified manner with their management.

It requires a combination of risk IQ, skills, knowledge, experience, education and training, the association added.

As a global organization for professional accountants, the ACCA offers business-relevant qualifications to people who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. The body now has 25,000 members and 108,000 students in China.

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