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How to Win at Global Regulatory Whack-a-Mole

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How to Win At Global Regulatory Whack-a-Mole
14 July 2020

The global regulatory landscape is increasingly complex, and accountants are feeling the pressure to innovate in order to keep pace with this change. But, how is technology helping accountants be more creative in their processes? And, where will this innovation take the accounting industry in the next 10 years?

Paul Volpe, VP of Solution Engineering at Workiva, recently joined the crew of the Off the Books podcast to share his insight into these questions. If you haven’t had a chance to listen yet, here are a few of the takeaways.

How are new accounting standards changing the technology landscape?

There is a tremendous amount of change in the accounting industry—from new accounting standards to the introduction of machine-readable data. For accountants, this means they are being asked to account for things in new ways to meet the requirements of shareholders. 

“In a lot of ways, accountants are being asked to do more with what they have. If they want to make it home for dinner or advance their careers, they have to be a bit creative in how they address these challenges, and technology is a critical component of that,” said Paul.

He continued by stressing the importance of creating scalable, automated and repeatable processes.

“Traditional tools help with one-offs, but if you want to enable scalability, teams need to look at how they can create repeatable processes and approaches in dealing with the unstructured nature of many of these things that do not fit well into rigid systems.”

Once repeatability is established, it frees you up to spend more time on the interpretation of this data, rather than the process or data manipulation. 

And, this is where technology is having a dramatic impact according to Paul. Companies are using solutions, such as connected reporting and compliance platforms, to bring processes, people and data together, so they can produce timely, accurate and consistent reports.

Technology is more accessible than ever before

The COVID-19 pandemic shined a spotlight on how cloud applications are not only making our lives easier, but also helping us become more productive and effective.  

“With a cloud solution, innovation is much more accessible to the business. Companies can start small and easily scale as needed,” said Paul. “This is in stark contrast to just a few years ago when technology lived in the IT department. It was IT’s function to identify technology and apply it to the business. However, the knowledge about the business problem existed within the business group, and often, it wasn’t being met at scale by the IT organisation. The accounting industry now has access to cloud applications that give them a way to make an impact quickly and at low risk."

The current climate is accelerating the adoption of cloud technologies, and this provides accountants with the opportunity to jump on this wave and be a part of the solution.

How will automation affect the future of accounting?

There are always going to be regulatory requirements, which are only going to become more complex with the mandates around non-financial data. So, no, accountants aren’t about to be replaced any time soon. 

However, during the podcast, Paul shared some steps accountants can take to position themselves to succeed—including investing in understanding how technology is impacting them.

“If you’re not thinking about what technology and innovations are happening in your industry, you're going to be at the end of the process rather than the beginning—this is especially for those in leadership positions or those who aspire to be in leadership positions,” he said. 

“What skills will accountants need in the future? It certainly won’t be in a lot of the repetitive tasks or data entry. So, you need to understand what opportunities exist to impact manual processes. Do your research, and see what technology your peers are trusting,” he continued.

Interested in learning why more than 3,500 companies around the world trust Workiva to modernise their corporate reporting and compliance initiatives in the cloud? Get in touch with us now for a guided tour.

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