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Digital and data comes to the fore during Covid-19


24 Aug 2020



Strong and clear leadership are key to the transformative success of digital in the workplace, says ACCA in a report that reveals the challenges and opportunities faced by organisations during the pandemic.

Data and digital transformations have increased exponentially in the workplace over the Covid-19 pandemic, with the role of and reliance on technology becoming more significant than ever before as more organisations adopt digital products and services to survive.

This has been the result of the maturing of digital applications to a level that’s made them widely usable and hyper-relevant in the current situation.

ACCA’s report Digitisation and the Global Pandemic examines the impact of this immense change due to the pandemic, and includes case studies from business leaders working for KPMG, China; SAP Asia Pacific Japan; VISA; and Golden Arches (Guangzhou) Data Processing Service Co., Ltd.

The report also offers practical guidance to cope with digital transformation, using ACCA’s ‘Act, Analyse and Anticipate road to recovery’ model with a focus on digital.

ACCA recommends the first step is to act to ensure operability; then analyse the situation ahead by looking for opportunities; then finally comes transformation of the organisation by establishing a digital strategy, identifying the role of technology to support the future strategic workforce plan virtually and physically, and how its presence can be sustained in the longer term.

Narayanan Vaidyanathan, the author of the report says: ‘Technology and digital have helped many organisations to continue to operate – those already thinking about digitisation adapted better, while those who had historically resisted it found their problems amplified. That’s why we think our roadmap is helpful, a practical guide to plan over the short, medium and long term to cope with digital change.

‘Many have had to accelerate their digital plans, and make huge changes to how an organisation actually works. Home working has become the norm, and for managers this has demanded a change in style and approach – the rise of digital has meant the need for even more leadership from the front, with a strong human touch.’

ACCA says the pandemic has also transformed how business is done, with a greater expectation that organisations will act with care and compassion.

Sam Ellis, chair of ACCA’s Global Technology Forum explains: ‘COVID-19 has, at least for now, reduced the tolerance for traditional hard-charging ways of doing business. Organisations are thinking more critically about what their digital footprint says about their values and respect for the community. But we are very much still in unchartered waters, and I know that the accountancy profession is working hard to navigate ahead, facing these challenges head-on and leading from the front.’

Narayanan Vaidyanathan concludes: ‘COVID-19 is a still-unfolding, and the future remains uncertain. But as the examples in this report show, the accountancy profession’s responding robustly, and informed by pragmatic risk management as well as an opportunistic embrace of change to make things better.’

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Helen Thompson


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Twitter @ACCANews

About ACCA

ACCA is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. We’re a thriving global community of 227,000 members and 544,000 future members based in 176 countries and regions that upholds the highest professional and ethical values.

We believe that accountancy is a cornerstone profession of society that supports both public and private sectors. That’s why we’re committed to the development of a strong global accountancy profession and the many benefits that this brings to society and individuals.

Since 1904 being a force for public good has been embedded in our purpose. And because we’re a not-for-profit organisation, we build a sustainable global profession by re-investing our surplus to deliver member value and develop the profession for the next generation.

Through our world leading ACCA Qualification, we offer everyone everywhere the opportunity to experience a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. And using our respected research, we lead the profession by answering today’s questions and preparing us for tomorrow.

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