Olivia Kirtley, CPA, CGMA, held a small blue globe in her hand for the audience to see as she presided over the closing ceremony of the World Congress of Accountants in November.
The globe, made at a CGMA booth using a 3-D printer at the Rome meeting, was more than an emblem of the international gathering of nearly 4,000 accountants. Its high-tech DNA spoke to the evolving role of finance professionals—often a swirl of technology, data, strategy, and innovation mixed with the more traditional finance responsibilities.
In closing remarks, Kirtley, the new president of the International Federation of Accountants, highlighted her key takeaways from a session organized by CGMA at the Rome meeting: That finance—once the passenger or navigator—is increasingly taking the driver’s seat at businesses around the globe.
Among the other themes from the session bubbling up to the World Congress closing ceremony were:
- The increasing shift of business’s center of gravity to emerging markets.
- The proliferation of data and technology as an opportunity and a challenge.
- Growth and investment having societal as well as financial responsibilities.
- Business results moving from the business page to the front page.
- The importance to business results of an inclusive workforce.
- The need to develop insights from data.