LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY TO BECOME A STRATEGIC PARTNER: The technology tidal wave is causing disruption, but it also provides opportunities for accountants and finance professionals to develop leadership skills.

Author:Smith, Sean Stein

ONE OF THE MOST COMMON themes that dominates virtually every accounting and finance conference, journal article, book, and conversation is the technology tidal wave that, if left unchecked, can upend practitioners and organizations. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies as well as artificial intelligence (AI) continue to drive innovation and change throughout the business landscape. While these specific trends can seem abstract, accounting and finance professionals do need to have an understanding of what these technologies are. Arguably more important than any specific technical knowledge, however, is the ability to leverage these innovations to become strategic partners.


Even if you aren't interested in becoming a technologist or technology expert, you're going to need a fundamental working knowledge of technological trends. Those include blockchain, cryptocurrencies, robotic process automation (RPA), and AI. Six months from now, other technologies could emerge and join the list.

The ability to articulate ideas, communicate the advantages and disadvantages of new technologies, and construct a business case connected to these tools is an essential skill for every accounting and finance professional looking to develop as a leader. Knowing enough to be able to identify technology trends forms the foundation of how accountants and finance managers can grow professionally.

Developing these fundamental knowledge bases and skill sets related to the array of technology impacting the accounting and finance landscape isn't something you have to do alone. Industry associations, including IMA[R] (Institute of Management Accountants), produce dozens of webinars a year discussing technology trends, practical applications to our profession, and implementation best practices. Additionally, there are various publications, video tutorials, and full-fledged courses produced by technology industry leaders, accounting firms, education companies, and others, some of which are available for free online. An abundance of information on every type of emerging technology is available to practitioners; the real decision is where accountants and finance professionals can best spend their time and financial resources.


Once accounting and finance professionals are armed with the knowledge of which technology trends are currently generating attention and attracting investment, there are several approaches and tactics...

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