The Future of Finance is not New Technology. It is People

The Future of Finance is not New Technology. It is People

By Deepak Chandran, Senior VP & CFO, International Business, Wipro Consumer Care [NSE: WIPRO]

Deepak Chandran, Senior VP & CFO, International Business, Wipro Consumer Care [NSE: WIPRO]

Technology today is all pervasive. It has touched every industry, and every consumer worldwide. The speed of adoption has grown manifold, especially in the last few years. It has made the finance function far more complex and challenging. To stay relevant, one needs to keep pace, and clearly, the future of finance is digital.

Many have written on how machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and bots provide exceptional service to customers in banks and financial institutions. We all know how it helps to take personal banking and relationship banking to the next level. In addition, it provides huge cost benefits to banks. It is estimated that artificial intelligence will enable the banking industry to save more than $ 1tn by 2030.

"The finance professional of the future is one who understands the finance domain, technology, and business dynamics intricately enough to shine headlights on the future"

The global body for professional accountants, The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) lists mobility, cloud, big data, cyber security, robotics, AI, augmented and virtual reality, and robotics as some of the technologies impacting the finance profession for the next decade or more.

Which new technology will benefit the function most needs careful evaluation. Even more careful thought should be placed on the talent behind the adoption of these technologies. Their skills greatly determine the success of any technology. It is very easy to get carried away by the collective hysteria around adoption of these new technologies without objectively considering what makes sense for your organization and function.

How do we find digital finance talent? How do we transform piles of data we can get real-time into strategic perspectives and insights that help businesses scale faster? Is traditional finance analytical skills enough for us to thrive in a world transformed by technology? What should be the change management strategy? The key to transforming the finance function of a business lies in the answers to these questions.

We need finance professionals who are behavioral scientists, data gurus, and tech geeks. We need those who have the uncanny ability to provide answers to business challenges. They should support their leadership with new ways to speed up revenues and boost profitability. In short, provide learning on the go.

CFOs have traditionally been referred to as co-pilots to the CEO, their conscience keeper-in-chief. In the present day they don many more hats; chief data officer, change management guru and many more. The finance professional of the future is one who understands the finance domain, technology, and business dynamics intricately enough to shine headlights on the future, instead of just reporting about the past. One who revolutionizes not just the finance function, but the business itself.

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