outsourcing stock

Increasing reliance on technology by companies could see the rise of a new kind of C-Suite executive, according to two influential accounting associations.

As company boards get more technologically aware and IT becomes a central plank of business models, feedback obtained by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) suggests that the rise of the 'chief financial and technology officer' or 'CFTO', could gain traction in 2014.

Helen Brand OBE, chief executive of ACCA, said: "Ours and IMA's research in 2013 has pointed to greater technological involvement for CFOs across the world. 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."

Cyber security, cloud technology, virtual and augmented reality, digital service delivery and even artificial intelligence and robotics are featuring more and more in business strategy, Brand added.

"Who would have thought 10 years ago that these trends would become part of the CFO role? They are and will continue to do so. We could see the rise and rise of the CFTO as a regular seat on the board," she added.

ACCA and IMA have over 225,000 members collectively. As part of their second CFO Month event, reports published by both bodies noted that what was transpiring was akin to 'Digital Darwinism' with CIOs and CTOs becoming more business and numbers savvy, and CFOs and FDs becoming more technology savvy.

Mobile technology, concerns over cybercrime and Big Data were being seen as key drivers of the CFTO role.

Jeff Thomson, IMA president and CEO, said, "Big Data has yet to reach its full potential, but CFOs will need to be at the forefront of using such data. Its value is vital to a business, but potential legal and ethical pitfalls remain.

"Finance professionals have a public duty to act within the parameters of the law and are responsible for using Big Data in an appropriate way," he concluded.