Amid the buzz and the energy of approximately 150 finance and GBS professionals engaging and interacting with each other over two days at the AGOS Finance Summit 2019, three pearls of wisdom stood out:
"Transformation is not a luxury, it is a must” said Idham Nawawi, Chief Executive Officer, Celcom Axiata Berhad.
"To embrace the future of accounting and technology, you need your degree and professional qualification plus data & digital skills” said Nyon Kam Yew, General Manager, Shell Business Operations.
“We cannot be competent without knowledge of technology, but technology cannot happen without people” said Andras Brueckner, Managing Director, BASF Shared Services Center.
In such dynamic and even volatile business environments facing the world right now, the need for businesses to future-proof themselves is abundantly clear. Innovation and disruption in either technology or business models or both have totally changed the global business landscape compared to as little as five years ago.
For finance professionals, a quick Google search for “The Future of Finance Professionals” will show you over 383 million result. “According to PWC, the finance function of the future will be defined by flexible and adaptive processes, near real-time reporting, and predictive analytics.”. It is evident that the industry has this issue at the forefront of their public and private discussions. Whether or not there is the need to evolve is no longer in question. The question is how to evolve and what to evolve into?
What a #SuperAccountant needs in the real world is the right balance of leading-edge technical skills as well as enhanced soft skills to enable a shift from an execution role to a supervisory and collaborative role in driving business strategy.
Technical skills for finance professionals involve blending core accounting and finance skills with new skills like programming, data analytics and data visualisation. We also need to have a firm grasp of new technologies, not just fintech, but those that drive business growth and innovation across the board. Big data analytics, blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) are the most obvious but more would surely be coming our way.
When it comes to enhancing soft skills, future finance professionals do need to get more in-tuned with our right brain to nurture our collaborative skills and growth mindset. Our erstwhile reputation as ultra-objective, left-brained “numbers people” should not be shaken off entirely but must now be tempered with communication and engagements skills, empathy for colleagues and passion for the business.
Naturally, the new generation seems to be more flexible and agile to adapt to the new order. This new generation has “adulted” in a world of ubiquitous technology and the mobile internet with big data analytics and blockchain technology becoming a big part of their early careers. However, this will amount to very little without the hunger and sense of urgency to learn new skills as well as an openness to what others are doing.
Dare we say it? The days of pivot tables and excel macros may be coming to an end.
The AGOS Finance Summit is back for its third edition this coming 17-18 March 2020. With yet another thought - and action - provoking theme "Moving Malaysia Up the GBS Value Chain", this is an unmissable event for finance and shared services professionals. Don't miss the opportunity to Power-Up, Level-Up and Tech-Up your GBS game at AFS2020 by exploring the themes discussed above in more detail! Register now at agossummit.com for Early Bird Tickets. #moveup #superaccountants