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ACCA/IMA Report Identifies Top Ten Technology Trends for the Accounting Profession

October 15, 2013

Marc Gerrone
IMA
(201) 474-1502
mgerrone@imanet.org

Andrew Healy
Water & Wall Group
(212) 625-2363
ahealy@waterandwallgroup.com

New York, N.Y. and Montvale, N.J., October 15, 2013 – Ten technology trends will significantly impact the global accounting profession,  according to the new report “Digital Darwinism: thriving in the face of technology change,”  by ACCA’s (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountant) Accountancy Futures Academy and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants). The report also asserts that advances in technology will demand new skills and competencies, from change management to knowledge of data extraction tools.

The most influential technology trends include:

  • Mobile: In the U.S., 75 percent of respondents say that mobile technology will have a significant impact on their business in the years ahead, compared to 82 percent in Africa and 95 percent in Australia, the highest score globally.
  • Big Data: Of the U.S. respondents, 62 percent say big data would be influential, compared with 91 percent of Australian respondents and only 47 percent of respondents from Ireland. U.S. participants also say that Big Data will demand new skills, with 72 percent responding that tools will be needed to support data modelling and analysis, and 77 percent claiming they will need knowledge of data extraction tools to aid business intelligence.
  •  Cyber security: Only 59 percent of U.S. respondents are concerned about the risks of cybercrime – one of the lowest scores in the world, despite having the highest perceived risk at 36 percent. Compare that to Africa, where worries are the highest at 74 percent, but the perceived risk is only 15 percent.
A summary of the report is available at http://tinyurl.com/lya932a. The full report is available by request through the ACCA and IMA joint website: http://roleofcfo.com/reports/.

According to Chris Gentle, partner and head of research at Deloitte, and member of ACCA’s Accountancy Futures Academy, “Accountants and financial professionals must be open to the changes created by Big Data, cloud, mobile and social platforms, and face up to the demands of cybercrime, digital service delivery and artificial intelligence. The future will not be like the past, and we will all need to adapt.”

“U.S. accountants and finance professionals are influential agents of change; they’re adept at using technology to advance their careers, their clients’ prospects and their own organizations,” says Raef Lawson, Ph.D., CMA, CPA, IMA vice president of research and professor-in-residence. “But they need to extend that influence to advising clients. Only 35 percent of U.S. respondents said they could influence their clients’ use of technology, compared to 80 percent of respondents in Africa.”

According to Warner Johnston, head of ACCA USA, emerging technology provides the profession with challenges, but also opportunities. “The profession needs to shape its technological future, rather than be shaped by it,” says Johnston. “The changes ahead are an opportunity to redefine roles and the extent to which the profession is involved in short- and long-term technology-related decisions. It needs to adapt to survive.”

Says Lawson: “Our report offers the profession actions it must take to deal with the top 10 technological developments. Professionals need to develop and change management styles to assess risks and address security issues; they need to explore the impact of automation and prepare for changing working patterns. But ultimately, they need to use technology to add value. There lies the real opportunity.”

The ACCA and IMA joint website, roleofcfo.com, is a resource for finance leaders containing ACCA and IMA reports, research and insights.

About ACCA
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants with 162,000 members and 428,000 students in 170 countries worldwide. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

We work through a network of 89 offices and centers and more than 8,400 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development.
www.accaglobal.com

About IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants)
IMA®, the association of accountants and financial professionals in business, is one of the largest and most respected associations focused exclusively on advancing the management accounting profession. Globally, IMA supports the profession through research, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program, continuing education, networking and advocacy of the highest ethical business practices.

IMA has a global network of more than 65,000 members in 120 countries and 300 professional and student chapter communities. IMA provides localized services through its offices in Montvale, N.J., USA; Zurich, Switzerland; Dubai, UAE; and Beijing, China. For more information about IMA, please visit www.imanet.org


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