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The Digital Transformation of Compliance & Reporting in Business

Digital transformation has been a trend in the news for a while now, and recently it got me thinking: about how we work, what this means for businesses, and where technologies like AI, machine learning, and cloud software can ease the burden on employees and finance organisations, allowing them more time to work on meaningful things.

These types of considerations are all part of what I call the Fourth Industrial Revolution, during which corporate compliance and reporting needs to transform in order to face unforeseen circumstances, most notably COVID-19 and its impact on global markets. There is a lot of pressure on government agencies and regulatory authorities to reduce the high costs of compliance and to create better economic conditions for business growth and also capital allocation, for the reduction of operating expenses that are typically funded by treasury departments who ideally, need to do more with less.

Not long ago, people would have never imagined a future in banking, finance or accounting that operated on cloud-based frameworks, open data standards, applications for automation to reduce lags and latencies in business reporting, and compliance processes. Today, and particularly since the onset of remote working, the way businesses operate has shifted, leading to a demand for tech-led and data-driven approaches such as machine-readable data and the cross-purpose application of computer algorithms to run checks, keep records, and systemise processes.

Ultimately, there is a burning need to revolutionise data, especially addressing key changes in infrastructure, such as creating a global taxonomy registry and an open taxonomy innovation platform. Businesses and their stakeholders now use open data standards - depending on trustworthy, auditable, accessible, and machine-readable information - in order to appropriately automate simple and mundane tasks, which helps to create more free time for their employees to focus on more strategic activity for the business.

It cannot be denied that the regulatory data (RegData) ecosystem is fragmented at a range of levels containing numerous variables: data formats, modes of submission, data definitions for certain common elements, business rules, access controls, and validations for similar reporting elements across various forms and regulators.

With all of these variables and complex issues, it’s no surprise businesses need technology innovation in streamlining operations and financial processes!

IT solutions such as AI, machine learning, and other cloud-based systems are the main answer for addressing these challenges, if we want to create an open, integrated, and holistic compliance model. Such frameworks will essentially create space for automating and streamlining reporting processes globally, regardless of region or regulatory framework, enabling access for timely and actionable data in order for businesses to make better, informed decisions.

Within the last decade, the industry has witnessed an array of both financial and non-financial reporting requirements, renewed vigour for internal data controls, the emergence of digital agility, big data, and business transformation embracing the ever-increasing usage economy. Now, executives want to be able to analyse and leverage insight in meaningful ways, so require better information provided when, where, and how they prefer.

We, as business, finance, chief compliance officers and technology leaders, need to be more committed and work from a point where we can link the past with the future, progressing robust and meaningful dialogue across all key stakeholders. This will hopefully provide us with the chance to better propel technological adoption across compliance and business reporting into transparent, innovation-friendly, actionable and dynamic changes, which prepare us well for a future already in progress.

It all comes down to the fact that the future of this industry will be led by the finance professionals who learn how to master smart use of AI and critical data in internal and external reporting processes. These finance professionals will become priceless assets to any business, and these professionals will be ahead of the game, introducing solutions where mundane repetitive tasks such as standardised, simple data, will be automated.

 

 

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