IMA’s Technology Solutions and Practices (TSP) Committee focuses on helping members understand current and emerging technologies in accounting and finance, and how they can leverage technology to benefit their careers, their employers, and the opportunities and challenges related to technology. The TSP Committee achieves this through a mix of awareness-building efforts, education programs, research, and thought leadership.
Technology is continually changing. It’s difficult for management accountants to understand just what changes mean, why they are important to the profession, and how to go about adapting new technologies to day-to-day activities. The IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) TSP Committee is composed of several IT subject matter experts who keep the IMA community current in such areas as data science and analytics, cloud computing, structured data, and digital reporting. Members of the TSP Committee work to support IMA’s strategic plan to position technology as one of the core competencies of the profession, serving as thought leaders and advocates where possible.
Here are some TSP Committee highlights from the past 18 months and a look ahead to what’s next.
TECHTALK WEBINAR SERIES
The TSP Committee launched the TechTalk webinar series in 2015 as a platform for educating members about technology topics in accounting and finance. Sponsored by IMA partners and moderated by TSP Committee members, the TechTalk webinars feature experts discussing the latest technology topics. Recent webinars have focused on predictive analytics and data science, leveraging the cloud, data governance, and top technology trends in management accounting. Global attendance has been very strong for TechTalk webinars—on par with other IMA webinars on accountancy and business issues.
Upcoming 2017 topics include robotics, artificial intelligence, the rising importance of the Internet of Things (IoT) and how it affects accounting, and the ever-popular recurring Top Technology Trends webinar hosted by the TSP Committee’s Vice-Chair, Brad Monterio. IMA urges you to attend the TechTalk webinars to increase your knowledge and understanding of technologies that are impacting the profession and business as drivers of change and innovation.
TECH PRACTICES COLUMN
Tech Practices is a monthly column in Strategic Finance in which TSP Committee members and guest authors delve deeper into technology topics and use them as a catalyst to stimulate further conversation with members, get them engaged in technology, and point them to additional IMA resources.
During its recent strategic planning meeting, the Committee agreed to provide serialized articles on important technologies, giving authors the opportunity to write more in-depth columns spanning three issues of the magazine. The first series began last month with a drill down into data analytics and data science.
Members of the TSP Committee regularly monitor technology-related developments and discussions with respect to policy, law, and regulations that could impact IMA members, the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification, IMA brands, or the accounting profession as a whole. This involves a review of agendas and proposed changes from standard setters, regulatory and legislative bodies, and government agencies. As opportunities arise on relevant topics, the TSP Committee works with IMA leadership and the corporate communications team to determine the appropriate type of response, which includes comment letters, white papers, media outreach, or other thought leadership.
Past comment letters have focused on the role of technology in integrated reporting as well as the use of technology and data analytics in the audit. For example, in February 2017, the Committee submitted a letter responding to International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board’s (IAASB) Exposure Draft, Exploring the Growing Use of Technology in the Audit, with a Focus on Data Analytics. The Committee expects to see the results of all the comments sent to IAASB sometime in summer 2017.
Other topics the Committee monitors include XBRL (e.g., the XBRL-CHOICE Act), the use of inline XBRL (iXBRL) mandated by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the proposed rollback of the Dodd-Frank Act in the United States, elimination of the SEC’s conflict minerals rule using XBRL for disclosure, the use of structured data in natural capital accounting disclosure, and others.
The TSP Community on LinkUp IMA is growing organically. This community provides a forum for IMA members to discuss technology-related topics that impact them and the profession, to share insights on the latest trends, to discuss their own on-the-job experiences working with new or different technologies, and more. The community is open to any IMA member at no cost and also includes a TechTalk blog available to community members and the general public.
TSP Committee Chair Chris Mishler addressed more than 200 participants on tech topics during the keynote address at the most recent IMA Michigan Regional Fall Conference. TSP member Kris Brands has also been very active throughout 2016 and 2017 presenting to many different audiences, including IMA’s Ohio Council Controller’s Conference this past November, on topics like business analytics. And, in addition to writing articles for Strategic Finance, Karen Maguire has spoken to various organizations and at IMA council events regarding fraud, money laundering, and how to spot terrorist financing.
Brad Monterio has spoken at past IMA Annual Conferences, regional council conferences, and various chapter events. In addition, Monterio was recently asked to record a video intro to “Advanced Analytics: Transforming the Profession,” which can be viewed on the IFAC Global Knowledge Gateway.
TSP Committee members have also been engaged to speak, present, or lead roundtable discussions at IMA Annual Conferences. In the not-to-be-missed category was Mishler and Monterio’s ACE2017 session, “Get Your Tech on: Technology Trends to Watch.”
TECH TOPIC DATA SHEETS
A group of TSP Committee members, led by Liv Watson, are working to develop Tech Topic data sheets. Given the tagline “Technology Topics Every Management Accountant Should Add to Their Professional Vocabulary,” these educational resources are designed to serve as primers on various topics related to current technology trends. They will include a brief overview of what the technology is, why it’s important, and its impact on business and the role of management accountants. Intended to educate IMA members, these data sheets will give members a place to start on their quest for knowledge about the technologies covered.
As the new staff liaison, I aim to continue the excellent work of Linda Devonish-Mills, who was IMA’s staff liaison to the TSP Committee (formerly known as the XBRL Committee) since its inception in 2009.