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ANAN explores technology-driven financial reporting process

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A finance management expert, Mr. Nick Agule, has warned Nigeria’s accounts to be wary of the sweeping changes in financial reporting across the world to avoid being caught in the web of technological disruption. He charged them to upskill and adapt to the changes necessitated by new reporting technologies.

He gave the advice while presenting a paper titled ‘Financial Management Innovations and Sustainable Growth’ at the 25th yearly conference of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN).

The event which held in Abuja, drew participants, who hooked up virtually, from different parts of the world. According to Agule, accountants are left with no option in the face of a changing world than “to be innovative and adaptable”. He urged the professionals to embrace disruptive technologies proactively.

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“The place of the accountant must be at the forefront and should even be the one initiating the disruptive technologies and not just being hit by them,” Agule said.

He believes the strength of Nigeria lies in the fact that it is “a virgin economy and largely unexploited”. He charged experts in different professions to leverage the opportunities to grow the economy and improve the wellbeing of the society.

While speaking on ‘Application of Artificial Intelligence in Reporting’, Egbita Bamidele, an accountant, said the claim that Artificial Intelligence (AI) would soon replace human beings was spurious. He noted that human intelligence would continue to be relevant to production processes despite the advancement of technology.

He insisted: “While AI and machine learning (ML) techniques can mimic the human cognitive ability of learning and recognizing patterns, the human intuition combined with logical reasoning that can respond well to complexity and ambiguity have yet to be replicated.

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“This is the reason why AI is unable to fully capture context and string together pieces of physical, visual, behavioural, psychological, emotional information and connect them all like humans do so spontaneously. Adopting AI systems will not be the first time in history that accountants have made use of technology to help them do a better job of providing financial information to users, which ultimately is their main objective.”

Reacting to the discussion on innovation, ANAN in its communiqué urged professionals to carry out SWOT analysis on technology-based reporting with a view to adopting the strengths in their day-to-day financial statement processing.

It also noted: “Professional accountants should imbibe a culture of innovation and creativity in financial management… If it is to support innovation in an organisation, the finance function needs to transform itself into a business partner that can help innovation teams succeed.”

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