The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) hosted its second Annual CGMA Africa conference at the Cape Town International Convention Centre under the theme Finance transformation in the digital world on 11 to 12 September 2019.
The two-day event featured over 40 prominent speakers and panellists from leading global and national companies discussing themes such as Artificial Intelligence, robotics, automation and the financial and leadership skills that are required to take on these opportunities.
Dr Noel Tagoe Founder and CEO, Noel Tagoe & Company and former Executive Vice President, Research & Curricula at CIMA, spoke about how rapid and unpredictable changes in the operating environments of organisations driven by technology and other factors are creating new industries, putting traditional revenue and profitability models under pressure and ensuring that the finance industry focusses on what matters to organisations in order to create value.
Alfred Ramosedi CEO Bayport, has identified 5 key emerging technological capabilities that will transform Finance to a digital model; Advanced data analytics and forecasting, Robotics Process Automation, Cloud & Saas, Big Data and Blockchain – all were central to presentations and panels during the conference.
CIMA’s Agile Finance Unleashed report, launched in partnership with Oracle in 2019, found that 90% of finance teams do not believe they currently have the skills to support digital transformation and support the business’s ability to grow and make better corporate decisions.
Challenging this, was Alida Botes, Partner/ Director PwC Strategies for Business Partnering who spoke on Day 2, addressing how next Generation Finance will reduce the size of finance by 50% and require a dramatic shift in financial skills and capabilities including the role of the new CFO, sighting that finance leaders will play a much more dynamic and facilitative role, moving from static and rigid processes and controls to adaptive, agile and resilient models which require orchestration rather than execution and control.
Although a reduction in the size of finance is predicted, technology is also creating new emerging roles and future jobs across finance organisations. With this, finance teams of the future should exhibit a range of important characteristics including digital ways of working so data is single source, using predictive analytics as the norm for generating insights and innovative ideas making the workforce and its new skillset key enablers.
An agile organisation can produce and flexibly respond to change in a stable manner and agility must become an integral part of the mindset and way of working as individuals, teams and finance organisations as a whole. The finance leader is a key enabler to achieving this and leadership is key in establishing the right culture that embraces an agile finance organisation according to Gbemisola Adelowore Head of Finance West Africa SAP.
Speaking to the topic How Leadership Shapes the Way You Play the Game Greg Solomon CEO McDonalds South Africa, stressed the importance of driving change and transformation in everything leaders do and that innovation is not necessarily about doing something differently, but doing the same thing differently.
“This year’s event explored various ways in which finance professionals at various decision-making levels can empower themselves to thrive in an evolving and transforming digital era.
The conference encouraged accountants to have a strong sense of ethics and integrity. It challenged all that attended to make bold decisions about themselves, their career paths and their career objectives.” said CIMA Africa Regional VP Tim Simba.