Upskilling CFOs to lead in the digital age

CFOs are facing some major changes as the digital wave starts kicking in with vigour.

For those operating in Malaysia, they are also expected to understand the new set of anti-corruption guidelines that will come in force in one year’s time.

These issues will be discussed at a one-day conference organised by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) on June 13 in Kuala Lumpur.

MIA’s CFO Conference 2019, themed “Leading in the Digital Age”, seeks to upskill CFOs to better navigate the digital developments and trends impacting their role and the finance function.

Upskilling is vital because today’s CFOs are expected to assume more of a leadership and business partnership role in driving and supporting the business, while overseeing financial management and compliance with regulatory requirements.

As the developer and regulator of the accountancy profession, MIA has taken the role to scrutinise and address the issues affecting the competency and capabilities of CFOs and the finance function.

During the conference, MIA will officially launch its Competency Framework for Finance Functions in Public Interest Entities as guidance for CFOs and other stakeholders.

In a statement, MIA said the framework delineates the scope and skills expected of CFOs and finance professionals in the digital economy.

MIA professional practices and technical division ED Simon Tay will discuss the features of the competency framework and how organisations and individuals can apply it to enhance the performance of the finance function.

The framework also addresses the digital thrust for CFOs and finance functions.

The one-day conference will throw light on the Guidelines on Adequate Procedures that will take effect from  June 1,  2020.

Launched by the prime minister in December 2018, the guidelines were issued pursuant to subsection (5) of Section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 (Act 694), as stated in the MACC Amendment Act 2018.

CFOs are expected to be materially impacted by the new guidelines. The conference will discuss how the guidelines can assist commercial organisations in navigating and implementing the adequate procedures to prevent the occurrence of corrupt practices in their business.

As strategic leaders and business co-partners, the conference will also touch on how CFOs are expected to champion and leverage opportunities arising from digital transformation.

Apart from calculating the costs and benefits of digital investment, the conference will explore how CFOs can best apply digital tools such as data analytics, artificial intelligence and automation to create and enhance the value of the finance function and integrate transformation across the overall organisation.

In a session entitled “Finance Transformation in Industry 4.0: A New Business Transformation Journey”, Agos Asia CEO Teoh Joon Leng will look at how finance transformation is aimed at creating a finance function that is able to influence business leaders to make better business decisions.

In another session entitled “Investor Relations: Why It Is Increasing in Importance to CFOs”, Petronas Gas Bhd CFO Shariza Sharis Mohd Yusof will discuss how CFOs have been logging longer hours responding to shareholder pressure. The session is also expected to discuss how CFOs see investor relations as an opportunity to shape perceptions of the organisation and help drive value.

Although the CEOs historically handle investor relations, engagement with investors is the intuitive domain of CFOs as financial communicators and as CFOs take on larger strategic roles. — TMR