Professor Alnoor Bhimani speaks at ICAEW on Accounting Disrupted: How should finance professionals react?

Professor Bhimani delivered a talk to finance executives at the ICAEW’s Business Bitesize event on 11 November 2020. The ideas he presented are based on his forthcoming book: Accounting disrupted: How digitalization is changing finance (AICPA/Wiley).  He discussed technological changes over the past decade that will transform accounting work and the finance function. He described the diverse forms of data growth accompanied by the increasing array of digital technologies such as IoT, blockchains, AI and robots which are altering accounting. He noted that aside from technological advances, the globe’s shifting demographics, the ‘Easternization’ of economic power, the widening gap between generations Y and Z and senior finance executives, as well changing regulatory structures are impacting the direction, utility and form of accounting controls and information.  Professor Bhimani highlighted how machine learning and deep learning are beginning to produce insights that are reshaping decision-based information inputs in organisations. A key observation is that the provision of intelligence that competitors do not know about or cannot access will lead to competitive competencies that will be difficult to dislodge. Accountants cannot therefore remain bystanders as the information potential offered by digital evolves. He stated that accounting’s focus on present and past economic transactions and business outcomes is giving way to accounting information that speaks to what will take place.  Digital technologies are fast upending business philosophies, models, and thinking because they can self-transform. The pace and scale at which this is happening is unseen and there’s no technological U-turn. Accounting cannot afford to stand still.