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Finance’s Vital Role in Managing Organizational Risk

Rope-light-bulb“Accountants have a vital role in translating the impact on the financials in three metrics: operating performance, balance sheet strength, and volatility,” said Gregory Case, President and Chief Executive of Aon at a CGMA event held in partnership with the London think tank Tomorrow’s Company. “The whole role of the accounting profession, the language of finance, is absolutely essential and critical.”

According to a recent article in CGMA Magazine, “the aggregate level of risk to businesses is rising at an unprecedented pace. Cybersecurity challenges threaten businesses and even the stock exchanges where value is traded. Social media’s expanding influence can draw attention to risks, crush reputations and cause investors to flee.”

I’m continuously impressed by how CPA, CGMAs are applying their strengths and knowledge to help organizations adapt and embrace innovation. During our visits to large multi-nationals, we learn how the finance teams in highly successful companies are harnessing innovation. In addition, we invited senior executives to share their experiences at events in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Their insights and our research results are captured in the CGMA report, “Managing Innovation: Harnessing the power of finance.”

“Action requires insight in this world today,” Case said. “Those who have better insight, driven by data and analytics, wind up taking actions that others view as risky but they view as more certain.”

The bottom line is this: finance teams need to transform into a business partner, supporting the CFO and the CEO in their approach to innovation. And management accountants, who sometimes have a reputation as regulators of risk rather than as instruments of innovation, can help promote a culture of creativity and renewal.

How does your organization nurture creativity within the finance function? Does the tone from the top encourage a culture of innovation? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Arleen Thomas, CPA, CGMA, Senior Vice President - Management Accounting and Global Markets, American Institute of CPAs.

Rope light bulb image via Shutterstock

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