There was a time when what technology a company used was solely the concern of the IT department. But now it’s a part of everyone’s job to know what the latest technology is to impact your line of business – finance department included.
For a long time, the general ledger and a calculator were enough technology for most finance departments to operate effectively. You could argue that it was the most sheltered from the digital age as it started to transform the way companies changed the tools they gave their workers, tracked relationships with customers, and communicated with the public. But the IT storm being faced by organizations is so strong that no department – or executive – can avoid being caught in its winds of change.
In the case of the chief finance officer and the finance department, consider some of the technology stories that have been making headlines in the past couple of years. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin is suddenly emerged as an alternative to Fiat currency, and although questions remain about its actual value and security, many consumers are voicing an interest in adopting it and some organizations are accommodating them – now you can purchase NBA tickets, a new laptop, or a bouquet of flowers with your bitcoin. Mobile payments have also suddenly arisen as a potential disruptor, with the smartphone potentially replacing the wallet in some situations and more intelligently processing transactions and tracking loyalty rewards. Then there is always the concern of meeting compliance standards and keeping customer data secure in an age where hackers are working harder than ever to glean financial data for sale on the black market.
Technology disruptions are here to stay. It’s a reality the finance department will need to get used to, but that’s not necessarily a scary thing. That’s why ITBusiness.ca will be collaborating with the upcoming Global Finance Conference in Toronto on Oct. 21-22, where I’ll be moderating a panel on how technology disruption has impacted those in finance departments over the last couple of years and what we see coming next.
The conference’s lineup of speakers along, with CFOs from companies like Microsoft Corp. and Globalive, along with other agenda topics like the financial benefits of cloud technology show this will be the forward-thinking sort of event that will help tell the sort of stories that we like to hear. The stories about people grappling with disruptive technology not only to overcome business challenges, but to succeed more brilliantly than ever.