Transforming finance in the digital age was the theme of the 48th World Chief Financial Officers Congress held for the first time in HCM City yesterday.
“The congress is a great opportunity for business leaders to gather, exchange and directly share their knowledge and practices, their intensive financial management skills with experienced finance leaders from other continents,” Nguyễn Ngọc Bách, chairman of the Việt Nam CFO Association, said in his opening speech.
“International financial experts will [tell us about] new trends and [provide] insights into the future of the financial sector and the challenges that business leaders and financial professionals are facing in this technological era.”
The two-day congress is the most important summit of the International Association of Senior Finance Managers, and is organised by the Việt Nam CFO Association and Japan Association of CFOs.
Prof Dr Nguyễn Thiện Nhân, member of the Politburo and secretary of the HCM City Party Committee, spoke about Việt Nam’s five remarkable economic achievements in 32 years of Đổi mới (Renewal) process, including high growth and industrialisation.
He attributed them to factors like constant and innovative reform of economic institutions, political and social stability, annual addition of around 1 million workers to the labour force, increasing human resource quality, robust export growth, and increasing FDI.
He also touched on the weaknesses like low productivity, poor infrastructure and impacts of climate change and solutions for eliminating them.
Shwetank Sheel, co-founder of Just Analytics, spoke about the importance of analytics 4.0 for financial executives.
“For financial analysis and reporting most data analysts are dependent on IT resources to prepare or access data and costs organisations billions.
“Excel continues to be the primary tool for data preparation while data analysts are also spending too much time preparing data.
“Critical data is at risk with 74 per cent of data analysts confessing that their individual computers are one of the top three places they store data.
“For strategy and forecasting, we should focus on machine learning revenue forecasting and machine learning accounts receivable forecasting.”
Roy NG, director, SMB segment, Lenovo Central Asia Pacific, spoke how technology can mitigate productivity challenges.
“Workforce productivity is ranked number 1, and 33 per cent of IT and business decision makers agree that investing in better technology to enhance employee productivity helps attract and retain talent.
“The ruinous effects of [system] downtime are an estimated $588 billion a year in the US alone.
“Employees who are frequently interrupted due to downtime reported 9 per cent higher exhaustion rates.
“Making correct technology investments to avoid device failure, unwarranted spending, and unnecessary downtime will help reduce exhaustion and increase revenue per employee.”
He pointed out the three pillars that underpin organisational productivity: deploying modern device technology with advanced connectivity and always-on security features, enhancing device output by extracting the full potential of the devices and enabling better collaboration with connectivity between employees across time zones.
The two-day congress’ agenda is a balance between policy considerations driving (or hindering) global and Asian growth and the transformative potential of digital technologies in responding to the opportunities and challenges they present.
Cybersecurity, blockchain technology, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI) are some of the key topics discussed.
Over 500 business leaders, CFOs, directors, and finance professionals from across the world are taking part the event.