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Human influence on developing tech shouldn’t be ignored

Written on Sep 22, 2022

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager  

While companies compete to adopt and leverage the latest technological innovations, one tech expert says not to forget the human impact on tech as it evolves.   

“Everybody thinks about finance as being very routine and mechanical numbers based,” said Danielle Supkis Cheek, VP of strategy & industry relations, Mindbridge. “But it's all humans behind it. And I think the real innovation is the human enablement part of data, and how to deal with the volume of data so that others can understand it quickly.”  

Cheek spoke at the Sept. 14 OSCPA Town Hall hosted by OSCPA President & CEO, Scott Wiley, CAE, covering emerging tech trends the accounting profession should know. While Cheek said the coming trends are exciting, it’s helpful to be realistic about the implementation process.  

“You can fall into this trough of disillusionment,” Cheek said. “You always have heightened expectations of what technology can do to solve your problems at the beginning versus what it can actually do at scale as you start implementing it.” 

And while she said tech innovators expect these difficulties, it’s something users need to remember as there will inevitably be bugs and problems to overcome.  

Accountants in the future will be expected to assess the technology outputs that they're relying upon, Cheek said. It’s a shifting expectation for the finance role and will continue to impact what it means for the profession to interact ethically with technology.  

“Make sure you're paying attention to what those ethical requirements are related to the changing landscape of finance function,” she said.  

While technology is a great benefit to finance departments, she said other colleagues might not realize the amount of human responsibility that comes with producing large amounts of data and analyzing it correctly. People expect speed and precision, and accountants could need to remind others of the time and effort it takes to produce accurate reporting.   

Despite difficulties that might arise from adopting new technology and a growing responsibility on the profession to use it ethically, Cheek said it’s worth the journey to improve the business ultimately.  

“Don’t let that fear of it being hard prevent you from doing something that’s going to be good for the organization,” she said. “Because a lot of people are doing routine tasks that are cumbersome and taking up their bandwidth rather than doing tasks that are more valuable and engaging.”  

Register for the next Town Hall on October 20

And for more learning on finance transformation, access our On-Demand course on Modernizing Accounting Services: Developing Your Innovation Strategy. It’s part of your complimentary Member Curriculum package that’s included with your OSCPA membership.