The overriding theme of EY’s Financial Reporting Outlook event in London on November 7th was that of change. While disruption threatens finance professionals, it is an opportunity to redefine the role of reporting functions. With dying industries, new ones emerging and the development of industry 4.0, finance leaders find their role changing and may be challenged with the pace of change.
One driver of change within the next ten years is artificial intelligence (AI), says researcher and futurist Sophie Hackford, who took up the topic of digital change. Moreover, the focus for many was on understanding the threat of cyber security. “It means identifying critical assets in need of protection, understanding the threat and designing targeted defence systems to minimise risk, protecting the organisation’s brand, reputation and shareholder value,” says Stuart Whitehead, Head of Cyber Security at EY UKI, claiming that corporations must pursue cyber security in an active defence approach.
In this changing, technology-driven landscape, financial professionals need to understand the underlying value of their business and communicate that effectively to all stakeholders, not just shareholders, says Doug Johnston, Partner, Climate Change and Sustainability Services at EY UKI. “The changing nature of the corporate landscape demands we change with it, but that means far greater weight will be placed on our ability to communicate clearly on what really matters — and that has to be a great opportunity for us to redefine how corporate reporting fits into the grander scheme,“ said one delegate at EY’s conference.