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Bringing finance into the digital age

09 March 2018

Dr Noel Tagoe is in no doubt about the task ahead. His job is to launch a new CIMA syllabus this summer, which among other things must bring finance into the digital age.

He was keen to stress he wasn’t calling it digital finance. Like Deloitte, he prefers to say it that way. Tagoe emphasised: “I am not digital, I am a human being who is navigating and thriving in the digital age!”

Currently, though, he is putting the final touches to the competency framework. This will outline what a financial professional needs to be able to ‘do’ from cradle to grave. And, he says, this will be “nothing revolutionary”. We aren’t looking at a root-and-branch change here, Tagoe confirmed.

What these competences should do though is ensure the syllabus is totally in tune with the world students operate in both today and tomorrow. Tagoe stressed employability is key (he said it quite a lot) and he promised he won’t be leaving students high and dry.

What is not in doubt is management accountants today need to understand and embrace technology. There is no avoiding it and Tagoe believes it will create great opportunities for finance people and what they do. If CIMA can give them the right skills they will be able to do the things CEOs want – to enable, shape and tell the story.

He was quick to stress that accountants don’t need to collect the data or even process it. What they will need to do is ensure the right data is collected, and increasingly this will be non-financial data, too. Tagoe stressed that it doesn’t mean accountants will be leaving the financial data behind, they just need to create a more joined up picture for businesses.

This neatly led him onto another area that is high on his agenda – value and trust. There is a huge move from a tangible to intangible world. He knows he needs to answer the question: what do we do with that?

Trust is a major part of all this. A lack of trust can be a barrier to entry into markets, and if you have it it means you can be given a bit of leeway when disruptors appear.

This all means that Tagoe will want CIMA students to think differently right from the start. They will be asked to think about digital enterprises and digital consumption. PQs also need to understand intangible value and how they can generate future value.

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