Tech-finance chiefs step up to the plate

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Robert Lovell
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Greater reliance on technology will see the rise of the chief financial and technology officer (CFTO) this year, according to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

The partnership’s research, which champions the role of finance chiefs and tracks technological trends, looked at the central role finance bosses play in business strategy, as well as the challenges and opportunities they face.

Helen Brand, ACCA chief executive, said the research has pointed to greater...

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09th Jan 2014 14:48

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 In a company large enough to employ such persons:

 I find it difficult even in my worst nightmares to imagine a situation wherein a Board of Directors would appoint the same person to be both Chief Financial officer and Chief IT technical officer.

 The two jobs require entirely different world and psychological viewpoints.

 Engineers of all sorts, digital or physical, are trained to go for the most perfect solution whatever.

 Financial officers are trained to restrain dreams within the limits of affordability.

 In successful technological or heavy IT user companies the two sit round a table and arrive at working compromises.

 But to have them embodied in the same person would mean there is no restraint or control over the dreams of either of them.

 It would be like leaving Billy Bunter in charge of the sweet shop.

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By redboam
12th Jan 2014 08:17

The role of IT is to provide a means of getting answers from a mass of data, from which proposed decisions on activities that will impact on profits, liquidity and cash flow can be assessed. Something like figurewizard can come up with those answers when it comes to planning business activities but implementing them or not as the case may be are matters of judgement that only an experienced CFO is qualified to take, not the expert in number crunching.

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12th Jan 2014 11:36

well said Redboam


 Well put Redboam!

 Regrettably too many persons who ought to know better have been intellectually seduced into believing that the technology is the message.

As a a famous sage is reputed to have said regarding a fake wise man, a goat also has a long white beard, but it is still a goat.

IT technology is to dip-pen and ink as a Boeing 787 is to a kite.

Nevertheless it is still what you do with it that matters, not what it is.










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By beddj
12th Jan 2014 14:23

IT's the Information and Processes, Not the Technology.

The digital expansion and change described in the article is highly likely to happen as a result of utilisation of new technologies, BUT

in consequence, the organisations that will succeed are those that USE the digital information to good effect and who manage their new business activities and processes effectively.

It is reasonable, sensible and sound business sense that The Accountants are managing these aspects on behalf of their organisations, this is something that they have always done, with or without all the new technologies.

Managing the technology itself is a different skill set, best left to the techies, but managing the potential and consequences of using new technology is the job of senior management of all disciplines.  Over the years too many have taken a back seat thinking Computer Specialists or even the actual computers undertake this task, but they don't.  The absense of this type of management is visible all around us, and is the real reason why so many people dislike and deride computers and systems.

We all need to start appreciating that the Information and the Processes are a totally distinct aspect, separate from technology itself, and ignore the fact at your peril.  Sadly management education in this area is sadly lacking, so no wonder so few people appreciate what to do or how to do it.

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13th Jan 2014 12:11

the point at issue is

 Dear beddj

 Your comments are valid. Nevertheless there is a caveat.

 I srted as a junior clerk in an office wherein we did not even have adding machines, the partner did not trust them.

 No adding machines, no photocopier, no fax, manual typewriters, a Gestetner duplicator, and pens and ink -red ink and blue ink (I still have my pen and inkwell, and round ruler). Money was £sd.

 I bought my first office computer in 1979, an Apple 48k look alike.I have it in my attic.

 It seems to me that was has happened is similar to the obesity epidemic. For the first two-thirds of my accountancy career we were almost always short of some bit of helpful information. Nowadays we have it shoved down our throats, and are often likely to choke on the torrent of "Must have" data.

 So our task is often; Not finding the data, but rather  figuring out what bits are actually economically or for managerial purposes, useful. This is much more difficult.The idea that one should, in a commercial context, even think of putting the control of collection of Data and interpretation of it into one pair of hands, is asking for trouble.

We are speaking of enterprises large enough to employ both Senior financial officer/ director and an IT senior officer.





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By beddj
13th Jan 2014 15:10

Spreading Responsibility for Information and its integrity

  Like you, I started in the days of 1st generation computers, paper tape and Hollerith cards, and can still recall the office admin days before any of the information technology. Back then the operational staff and management did mostly know and comprehend the underlying calculations, processes and controls undertaken, and so many people did know these basic underlying activities that the organisation had strength in numbers and the absence of an individual did not inhibit their ability to cope with everyday situations.  How many organisations know today what processes and calculations the computer systems are undertaking internally for them.  How many places cannot make simple changes or innovations because their computer system does not support their desired adjustments, or because they are not confident about the impact or consequences, and choose to stay safe and leave well alone?

  Over the years many of these people have felt "locked out" of a comparable comprehension and understanding as more and more aspects have been partially or wholly undertaken.  By working to try and ensure that this gap becomes filled by greater numbers of individuals, each knowing where their computing activities starts and stops, exactly what calculations and processes their system does and does not do on their behalf, then the issues you raise will arise less often as inappropriate information and processes can be culled and people like yourself can begin to feel fully in control of their own datasets again, just like they used to.  This aspect of computerisation has been woefully neglected by both Operational Management and the Technical Computer Staff, and steps need to be taken to ensure that operational staff are put back in control again, (through their management teams of course),

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