87% of Canadian CFOs expect to increase investment in reporting technology

As technology investment increases, so does the search for the right talent

TORONTO, Dec. 13, 2016 /CNW/ - In response to increasing demands on corporate reporting, 87% of Canadian CFOs expect to increase investment in corporate reporting technologies over the next two years. This is according to EY's How can reporting catch up with an accelerating world?, an annual global survey of 1,000 CFOs or heads of reporting of large organizations.

"The pace of technological change is the standout challenge for external reporting in Canada, according to EY's survey," says Fred Clifford, EY's Financial Accounting Advisory Services Leader. "Combined with the number of regulatory changes and the pace of regulatory change, Canadian CFOs are facing an increasingly complex reporting environment."

When it comes to technology specifically, Canadian CFOs identified two top issues: updating their IT and data analytics tools, and achieving better process efficiency. It's not a surprise, then, that EY's survey found half of respondents plan to increase their investment in reporting technology by more than 10%. Last year, only 25% of respondents were planning similar investment.

"Canadian CFOs are starting to close the gap between the desire to improve reporting and the investment required to make that happen," explains Clifford. "But as they make these important investments, organizations can't forget about ensuring their people have the right skills to glean important insights from advanced technology. One isn't valuable without the other."

Top spend: cloud computing and big data

With a multitude of technologies to choose from, EY's survey found Canadian companies expect to prioritize spending on cloud computing (35% vs. global 28%) and big data technologies (32% vs. 30%).

"Investments in cloud computing and big data technologies help companies do more with less," says Clifford. "As they continue to invest in this critical area to enhance their competitive advantage, the need for the right talent to effectively manage and execute these changes is crucial."

IT management skills needed

When it comes to the most important skills, 60% of Canadian respondents said IT management skills are the most critical to improving the reporting process. This number ranks way ahead of Canadian's second most important skill, business analysis (27%).

As Canadian leaders plan to increase investments in reporting technology, the need for people with the requisite skills to master the new technologies are in high-demand.

"There is intense competition for the best people," says Clifford. "Recruiting people with IT management skills may be at the top of companies' lists, but organizations shouldn't forget about other important skills, too – like data analytics. Marrying the two will help teams to set up the right big data infrastructure, while drawing meaningful insights from the data that technology delivers."

According to Forbes Insights and EY's Analytics: Don't forget the human element, people and culture are critical to unlocking business value from data analytics.

"In this tough economic environment, Canadian CFOs are making investments in the technologies that will bring their reporting to the next level – maximizing efficiency, drawing deeper insights, and ultimately – telling a better corporate story to their investors and stakeholders," adds Clifford. "But these types of investments in technology won't be effective without the right investments in talent."

Read EY's full report here: How can reporting catch up with an accelerating world?

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

For more information, please visit ey.com/ca. Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

SOURCE EY (Ernst & Young)

For further information: please contact: Sasha Anopina, sasha.anopina@ca.ey.com, 416 943 2637; Julie Fournier, julie.fournier@ca.ey.com, 514 874 4308; Leigh Kjekstad, leigh.kjekstad@ca.ey.com, 604 648 3807

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