Assumption and Validation: Observations from the 2015 CFO Dimensions Conference

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Assumption and Validation: Observations from the 2015 CFO Dimensions Conference

As a technologist in the accounting/ERP software industry (by my own astonishment, for approximately twenty years now), I find that some of us make assumptions on what the latest trends are in the industry as it relates to the CFO and what it is that resonates with them. So, it was with great enthusiasm that I attended the “CFO Dimensions” conference put on by Proformative last week, to rub elbows with those that are the crème de la crème of the bean counter ilk (CFOs, VP Finance, Controllers, etc.). And, what better way to “keep it real” than a lower Manhattan location for the event… the mecca for subjects pertaining to world economy, as well as the personality stereotype of the Northeast region, that we tend to “tell it like it is” … no sugar coated pleasantries … certainly it would be here that I could validate my assumptions.

Assumption: “In general, accountants are now ‘ok’ with storing their financial data in the cloud.”

It is 2015 after all.  I was certainly an early adopter here. In my mind, it was analogous to either burying my money in the backyard or depositing it in the bank. Certainly a bank specializes in all aspects of security to keep my money safe, just as a reputable cloud provider specializes in all things technology related to keep data secure… much better than a server in a closet within a company that, say, has nothing to do with technology. However, years ago, I found myself defending and preaching the merits of putting systems in the cloud, in particular, financial data. My assumption was that we have moved past these concerns and that we could begin having more granular and meaningful discussions on the finer points. As of late, I have attended conferences where everyone has already bought into the cloud, and I have been amongst like-minded folk. The true test, have these accountants, that generally tend to be conservative, bought into it as well?

Validation: The question is no longer “should I put my data in the cloud,” but “what platform is going is to afford me the greatest potential for the best value?”

Once the conference was underway, I was in “conference mode” and didn’t think too much about my original assumption and was more concerned about my immediate responsibilities at hand. I didn’t realize until after I left the conference and was on the trainride home that I didn’t have to defend, nor preach about putting an accounting system into the cloud, not even once!

The conversation has now shifted, the question is no longer “should I put my data in the cloud”, but “what platform is going to afford me the greatest potential for the best value?” Conversations I’d much rather have, and quite frankly, questions that I have a very comprehensive answer for. I had dozens of conversations, some of which were on the subject of creating “islands of information” or “data silos” … we’ve been discussing these concepts for years for on-premise solutions, but certainly why would one want to recreate data silos in the cloud, or a Frankencloud?

Cohabitation vs. Integratgion

Let’s start speaking in terms of “cohabitation” rather than “integration” and ensure we’re selecting a single platform for all of our mission critical applications, like Salesforce, for a complete front to back office solution (#bettertogether). In addition to traditional accounting concepts, or discussing new regulations say like revenue recognition, I found that I get to start using a new vernacular with CFOs… things like “inherently mobile,” “clicks not code,” “ecosystem of vertical solutions on the AppExchange,” “financial intelligence on a single platform,” etc. It was refreshing to say the least, and I look forward to attending next year to continue my newfound communication with these accountants!

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