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ACCA: Big data analytics is transforming CFO roles, SAP concurs

AvantiKumar | Sept. 15, 2014
Jennifer Lopez of ACCA Malaysia says their research finds more CFOs are using technology to drive business.

Jennifer Lopez, ACCA Malaysia  

Photo - Jennifer Lopez, Head, ACCA Malaysia.


Research by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants [ACCA] agrees with business applications firm SAP Malaysia that the role of chief financial officers is changing to increasing use of technologies such as big data analytics to help drive and transform their organisations.

During the recent 'Future of Finance' event, co-organised by SAP Malaysia and ACCA Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, ACCA Malaysia's head Jennifer Lopez said CFOs needed to use technology advancements to help their organisations stay agile.

Earlier this year, ACCA forecasted the rise of a "transformed Chief Financial and Technical Officer (CFTO) role given the greater reliance on technology today," said Lopez.

"ACCA's futures research has pointed to greater technological involvement for CFOs across the world," she said. "Their involvement in big data and technology trends is critical to business growth and profit. As CFOs take on a more strategic and globally-focused outlook within business, technology will loom larger in their remit."

"CFOs are agents of change, which means they have to be at the forefront of technological developments if they are to fulfil their role as strategic advisers to business," Lopez said.

SAP Southeast Asia's chief financial officer, Thomas Zipperle, said,  "Our own technology is helping us. Since 2012 we have been incrementally moving many of our processes onto our High Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA) platform."

Thomas Zipperle, CFO, SAP Southeast Asia modified 

Photo - Thomas Zipperle, Chief Financial Officer for SAP Southeast Asia.

 Move to 'Real Time Finance'

"Changes in global business strategies have resulted in the need for fundamental shifts in the way CFOs handle operations, high market volatility, ever-increasing regulations, and rapidly changing business models," said Zipperle.

"Our own technology is helping us. Since 2012 we have been incrementally moving many of our processes onto our High Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA) platform," he said.

Previously, some of the processes such as SAP's cost to profit analyser took up to 12 hours to process a query, said Zipperle. "Now with HANA, we can move faster by having one global finance organisation."

Bernard Chiang -SAP Malaysia modified 

Photo - Bernard Chiang, Managing Director, SAP Malaysia

SAP Malaysia managing director, Bernard Chiang said SAP was encouraging organisations to move towards 'Real Time Finance" for increased "empowerment to be more agile, better aligned, and predictive. "Success today is all about harnessing data faster and more effectively than competitors."

Companies today were increasingly looking to their CFOs to provide business and operational guidance, said Chiang.  "One good example of how real-time is beneficial is with Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Berhad (MISC), a leading international shipping line of Malaysia."

"Shipping is one of the lifelines to trade for any country. With thousands of ships on the move at any one time, shipping companies need the critical ability to be able to process information not only quickly, but reliably," he said,


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