Throughout the pandemic, organisations around the globe have turned to digital solutions to navigate economic uncertainty. Digital Transformation Reimagined: Accountants’ Lessons Learned and Tips for Moving Forward, a new report by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the unified voice of AICPA and CIMA, examines how finance professionals helped their organisations overcome COVID-19’s business challenges and the strategic role they are playing to set their companies up for sustainable success.
Based on interviews with the organisation’s members on five continents, the report details how small and medium-size organisations are reimagining every aspect of their businesses. According to the accountants and finance professionals interviewed:
- The pandemic has demonstrated that not only is a digital-first environment feasible, but it can also be adapted to many situations. Among the numerous examples discussed is an apparel manufacturer for international brands in Sri Lanka that has used digital transformation to design and distribute under its own brand, and a landscaping business in the UK that now uses tablets to supervise employees working remotely, among others.
- Digital transformation is about far more than upgrading information technology systems. It’s about using technology to reimagine how, when, and where an organisation does business, as well as the effects on staff, customers, and others.
- The solutions can be scalable and affordable for small and medium-size organisations. For many companies, there may be no need to invest in expensive or elaborate systems at first or, perhaps, ever.
A road map to success
The report includes a comprehensive three-stage road map that offers guidelines on how to:
- Lay the groundwork for transformation. Organisations should assess their current capabilities, make realistic plans based on their existing resources, and secure leadership buy-in before beginning their journey.
- Collaborate with employees and vendors. Their valuable perspectives and ideas should be included in planning.
- Finesse the plan. The organisation can decide how quickly it should move forward, create clear goals and acknowledge when they are reached, and take notes so staff can learn from the process.
Given the importance of leadership buy-in, the report also features a list of six reasons to digitally transform that can be used to make a case for change. Examples are highlighting tangible benefits, the organisation’s enhanced appeal to customers, and advantages in recruiting and retaining top people.
As organisations work to maximise the value of digital solutions, finance professionals can use the report to understand the options that exist, chart a strategy for success, and access many Association resources.
— Anita Dennis is a freelance writer based in the US. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Ellen Goldstein, the Association’s director–Communications & Special Projects, at Ellen.Goldstein@aicpa-cima.com.