It’s 2020, a milestone year as it marks the beginning of the 21st century’s third decade. What will this historic year hold for the management accounting profession?
Technology and Economic interruptions paved a way in reshaping accounting and finance management, which demanded accountants to reassess their roles and functions. I’ve written about these in Forbes before, but as we planning to thrive in 2020, I thought I’d poll some members of the IMA® (Institute of Management Accountant) Global Board of Directors for their foresight think about the management accounting profession.
Their views will be helpful to those management accounting professionals, who are eager to expertise their skills with competencies for the 21st century’s third decade. I polled them on four key areas, which will be crucial to the future of their profession includes:
I] Technology and Data Analytics
II] Decision Making and Strategy
III] Global Operations
IV] 21st Century Finance Professionals “Coming of Age.”
Technology and Data Analytics
As expected, advances in technology loom large in experts’ 2020 forecasts. “The more tedious transactional work will continue to contract and get automated, Big Data and machine learning will enable insights and analysis like never before,” according to Esteban Quiros, CMA, global FP&A manager for Procter & Gamble.
In 2020 Big Data accumulates information at an unprecedented scale, but knowing how to obtain by a profession and use it is a different story.
“From my perspective, management accounting is impacted by the massive advance in the area of Data Analytics,” says Fatema El-Wakeel, CMA, Finance Business Partner for Data Analytics [ UK -based luxury car manufacturer].
“Data Analytics involves things like Data Engineering and cleansing, modeling and of course delivering the message through visualization…Technology has enabled management accountants to deliver on-the-the job more efficiently and effectively, which will be needed for [the profession] to advance in 2020.”
Decision Making and Strategy
In accountants, if automation results no longer performing key areas of their current and past jobs, what will be the solution? Learning how to master technology and data analytics in addition management accountants in 2020 will focus much on core strategy and decision making, becoming partners in business leadership rather than just corporate bookkeepers says, - IMA’s Board Members.
Which reshapes accounting and finance management involvement by adopting a more advanced view of the business through Data Analytics. World events are driven by the necessity of management accountants becoming decision-makers and strategists.
“In 2020, management accountants’ focus should be on risk management for strategic decision making. With so many global and national uncertainties, such as unresolved trade deals, and our presidential election, advance planning for potential changes is critical.” - Cate Long, CMA, an Executive Advisor to Start-ups and former VP at a Global Software Firm.
“Better financial forecasting will also be key as management accountants rise into strategic leadership roles”- Olya Kovnatska, CMA, Financial Planning and Analysis Manager with United Rentals, Inc., the world’s largest equipment rental company: “With current economic uncertainty and market volatility, I believe it’s more important than ever for management accountants to stay ahead of the emerging trends shaping our respective industries and profession as a whole. By shifting focus towards the future instead of the past, modeling various scenarios and financial impacts of the developments we observe in our business and proactively communicating the findings to our stakeholders in a simple and actionable way, we as finance professionals can facilitate more agile decision making and create a competitive advantage for our organizations.”
Not the least! An important aspect I analyzed through the responses from the management accountants in 2020 is to adapt the realities of globalization and learn to operate by focusing across the global borders. Though globalization is facing risk factors in reshaping accounting and finance management, businesses continue to grow and operate on a worldwide scale.
“As more companies grow and operate across countries, it is essential to have the capability to operate effectively on a global landscape, said Quiros. “This includes understanding critical fiscal and compliance requirements, operating differences and market dynamics, to mention a few.”
21st Century Finance Professionals “Coming of Age”
My colleagues’ responses are crystal clear that in finance professionals for the 21st century’s third decade will be defined by how well they adapt to technology and globalization. J. Stephen McNally, CMA, CPA, CFO of the PTI Family of Companies, a global leader in sustainable packaging innovation, concisely sums up this sentiment: “Due to competitive challenges, changing customer expectations, new technologies, increasing regulatory requirements, and other disruptions, even successful companies must continuously evolve and transform to remain relevant…as 2020 approaches, management accountants must strive to be effective business partners and strategic advisors. By earning a seat at the table, management accountants can enable their CEO and cross-functional partners to address current and future challenges and disruptions head-on.”
For Finance and Accounting professionals the 21st century’s 3rd Decade welcomes with NextGen Technologies! Just being a good custodian of the company books in management accounting no longer will take in accountability in 2020, management accountants’ survival will be decided on their ability to adapt to new technologies.
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