How finance professionals can survive the data revolution

The data revolution will create opportunities for finance and accounting professionals to showcase their strategic value across business functions beyond their traditional roles.

By Nurdianah Md Nur
April 5, 2016


Finance and accounting professionals should be prepared to face an upcoming data revolution that will significantly change their day-to-day practices.

According to a report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), in near future, data governance and managing data through its full lifecycle should no longer be considered as boring tasks confined to the depths of the back office.

This is because when data management is done correctly, it can increase productivity and reduce operational costs; while data governance ensures that data management happens properly (ie. in a way that is aligned with the original goals). Meanwhile, data lifecycle will become more complex and demand increased involvement from users across the business aside from the IT and operations departments.

These will result in the emergence of data-oriented business functions and their corresponding roles, which create opportunities for finance and accounting professionals to showcase their strategic value across business functions beyond their traditional roles, said ACCA and IMA.

"Data management and data governance - often seen as unpopular concepts within businesses - are among key issues being pushed to the fore by the data revolution," said Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, vice president of Research and Policy at IMA. "For data governance, finance professionals will play a part in helping to support projects that lead businesses towards maturity in their use of data."

To fully anticipate the future impact of data, finance and accounting professionals must see data as a useful commodity and a critical tool for business strategy. They must also recognise data revolution trends and their impacts on business strategy, taking into consideration the increasing complexity of data and its mobility and agility, as well as cloud computing, its storage concerns and enforcement risks, concluded IMA and ACCA.

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