Sunday 16 June 2019

Embracing new tech could help guide your business - and own career - along the right path

Getty Images/iStockphoto
Getty Images/iStockphoto
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Finance professionals who embrace new industry-changing technologies are commanding higher salaries as the demand for new skills grows.

According to Karin Lanigan, Manager of the Career Development and Recruitment Service with Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI), companies are looking for accountants and finance experts on their payroll that "will bring about value and make a positive impact on the bottom line".

Karin Lanigan
Karin Lanigan

"In my role, I am seeing chartered accountants at every stage of their career life cycle more involved, not just in the selection of technology, but also in the implementation - or at least overseeing this - within the company," she told

While budgetary spend will vary from company to company, these experts are the best placed to identify the most appropriate technology of the array available that will help their firm get the outcome sought after.

"The finance director or controller understands the operations of the business and the areas that need efficiencies; presenting the business case and being able to evaluate and measure this knowledge increases the likelihood of the investment being made."

Combining new tech tools with their existing financial skillset can help a professional in this sector at any stage of their career become a more valuable commodity to a compaany.

Brenton Ward
Brenton Ward

"While the technology can give them access to a wealth of data, their skillset allows them to cut through the volumes to find the data that's valuable. For example, a sales analyst can tell the story behind the numbers, turning that data into real information.

"These employees don't need to be at a very senior level to do that, or influence those decision as regards tech spend." 

However, education in terms of what's happening across the landscape and supporting its members to stay relevant in a rapidly changing tech environment is part of what the CAI are aiming to do.

The body is holding three events in Dublin, Cork, Belfast over the coming weeks, starting tomorrow morning at Chartered Accountants House on Pearse Street discussing the topics of robots, AI and the future world of work.

Joining Ms Lanigan as one of the speakers at the events is financial advisor and mentor Brenton Ward who has become embedded in the Irish landscape since moving from Australia two years ago. 

"I like cutting noise of what's really happening in the sector, especially in terms of technology advances and its impact. Looking at the last couple of decades, there has always been disruption in some way shape or form, and always some resistance to change," he said.

"Australia and New Zealand are probably about five or six years ahead in terms of adopting new tech in the accounting space. Firms in Ireland, which went cold during the recession period, have had a good bit of catch up to do."

But while some Irish firms may be hesitant to loosen their purse strings to embrace new tech, or have difficulty with software that is not compatable with their existing systems, there's a tidal wave of changes afoot.

"I sometimes liken Ireland to New Zealand, its a hub that it is really good test bed for tech considering its size. At the moment, we are starting to a shift in the adoption of cloud adoption technology; and these waves are definitely starting to crash, very much heavily driven by the client side.

"It's also a very good opportunity for a sharing of knowledge; newcomers need to taught differently as the skillset needs to be more client focused and the business side needs to shift their approach, to pass on that knowledge to the younger workforce.

"Meanwhile, this new workforce will bring with them a new tech-driven skillset, which may come more natural to them, that they can help to upskill existing employees and drive the business forward." 

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