While January can be a pretty depressing month, with Christmas and New Year celebrations over and the weather still cold and wet, it is also a great time to reflect on the year that has just gone and see what you can improve on in 2018.
Last year media coverage showed how fast new technologies and digital platforms are growing, yet often remained unstable. Different cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Litecoin are rising fast, in terms of price and usage, but cyber-attacks are still very much a threat – as proved by the recent Uber crisis.
However, while there are still uncertainties surrounding new technologies, now is the time more than ever to embrace it, especially in the business world. It is no secret that the digital world is fast-moving, so you need to make sure you are seeking these new opportunities, to ensure that you do not fall behind your competitors.
At the end of 2017, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) released a report, ‘Race of relevance: technology opportunities for the finance function’, which is the first in a series of reports and articles that focus on technology in finance. While the focus is on finance, the topic is still very relevant and can apply to other professionals.
The report details how Chief financial officers (CFOs) have the opportunity to adopt new technologies to drive business growth. Failure to embrace these opportunities risks losing competitiveness and remaining relevant within a fast-moving digital landscape.
Embracing new technologies can enable a better, more efficient process in the workplace, provide more protection for information assets and support communication both internally and externally.
As Maggie McGhee, director of professional insights at ACCA said, CFOs (or other senior individuals) need to appreciate that there are significant opportunities to be gained from the use of new technologies in finance (or other professions).
She added: “They need to accept that with these technologies it is often better to fail fast and be able to move on, rather than to not try at all.”
Everything we do is a learning curve, but to embrace new things such as new technologies is a way of moving forward in this world and could potentially have a very positive impact on business.
However, rather than diving in head first, make sure you have a plan in place. Identify your businesses goal and explore what technologies you could use to help reach those goals. And of course, make sure you are communicating this to staff and helping them improve their own digital literacy, so they don’t fall behind in the company.
This being said, it is important not only for businesses to adapt and learn, but also for individuals to learn and strive for self-improvement.
At ACCA, we are big believers of continued learning and think it is important that we acquire new skills that can help in the work place, or even personally.
An example of this would be for non-accountants to improve their financial literacy through programmes such as ACCA-X, which is an online learning programme that supports learners who are interested in accountancy and business. Individuals can learn about things such as book keeping or how to manage accounts. All great skills to have if someone runs a small business or is just starting out and doesn’t have the funds to pay for extra staff or to outsource.
In this day and age, it is important to stay ahead of the curve and make sure that as individuals we do not fall behind. Learning and self-improvement is something we should all strive to do, whether it is embracing new technologies or learning a new skill, as this can help take your business or your career to the next level.
Lloyd Powell is Head of ACCA Cymru Wales