- Virtual CFO services are becoming more visible
- A client need for data insights is increasing demand
- Soft skills remain important across management
Nick Koulbanis CA is a leading IT Business Partner at Jemena, and ensures there is alignment between business requirements for IT and Jemena’s IT strategy.
What is your passion? What is your profession?
My passion is to create. I love the process of taking an idea and turning it into something unique and worthwhile, or solving a problem in a fresh and innovative way.
What was your reason pursuing a career in ICT?
I started my fascination with technology at University during the first year of my economics degree. I excelled in ICT at university because of the creative element and the ability to use it to solve complex problems in unique way. As a result, I am always seeking to use ICT in clever and value adding ways.
Do you apply your CA knowledge and ICT in your role?
Recently I used my knowledge of intangible asset recognition to develop a comprehensive guide for capitalising software in the ICT project delivery function at a major energy distribution business. This has resulted in significantly higher quality business cases and associated reductions in rework. I also developed a comprehensive capital budgeting model for ICT business cases that enabled the ICT project delivery function to develop consistently high quality financial investment justifications. This model used the company’s WACC and allowed Project Managers to effectively calculate NPV, IRR and Payback Period.
Where do you see ICT going in the future? How can members prepare themselves to leverage from future technology changes?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) means that islands of repetitive manual or semi-manual business processes steps that are not enabled by traditional ERP systems will be automated thereby eliminating most white collar clerical and spreadsheet tasks. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will then take this to the next level whereby non-repetitive steps can be successfully automated and as well as applying financial knowledge to automate decision analysis.
Members need to develop their skills applying technology to solve business problems if they are to remain relevant in an increasingly digital world. The ability to design and enable sophisticated value adding business analysis and decision support is going to be more important than being good with spreadsheets or engaging in time consuming lower value number crunching.
What would you like to say to fellow CAs about engagement with ICT?
Embrace ICT and make a concerted effort to learn as much as possible about it, learn the basics of requirements analysis, decision analysis and project management. Engage with your organisation’s ICT team to help with your understanding and learning and to develop the relationships with key SMEs. I also encourage you to learn about digital business models, given that you won’t likely succeed by merely tweaking management practices that led to past success.
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