Accounting, IT, and Strategic Planning

What futurists (or “futurologists”) do is to help people plan and prepare for the future, as opposed to offer predictions about the future. This can involve looking at future trends, notably about new technologies and technology trends, and a lot more besides.

If you’re looking for a conference speaker, a keynote speaker, or a workshop presenter or facilitator on this topic, the examples below represent some of the keynote speeches or workshop presentations I’ve given as a futurist speaker in the past. But each presentation is created specifically to suit your needs. If you don’t see a presentation about the future that would work for your conference, by all means contact me, and we’ll see if we can create one specifically for you.

AI, Technology, and the Future of Accounting

The accounting profession has experienced significant changes due to technology already. Yet, the changes to come promise to be even more disruptive still, especially the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Richard Worzel is a futurist who also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst professional designation. As such, he has both studied accounting, and has worked alongside accountants for much of his career. In this overview of how technology is going to effect the practice of accounting, he outlines the changes ahead, and how practitioners should be preparing today for the changes to come, including:

  • What AI is, and why it will be both important, and disruptive, in the practice of accounting;
  • The three characteristics of AI that are key to understanding its future effects on your practice;
  • Why AI is not a magic formula, and the three things you must have to make effective use of AI;
  • The areas where AI will have the greatest impact, and how to prepare for them;
  • How Cloud computing is changing business, and what its strengths and weaknesses are;
  • The advent of Fog computing, along with the Internet of Things, and why you should be preparing your clients for the massive changes ahead.

“Bean counting may be in the DNA of the accounting profession,” says Richard, “but strategic planning and the practice of active foresight are its future. Accountants have the training, the tools, and the mindset to lead their organizations and clients into the future – but that means they need to keep up on the changes that are rapidly overtaking today’s business practices.”

What Future Should We Want? What Future Should We Aim For? Tomorrow’s Accountants

That our future will be different from our past is obvious. The bigger question is: What do we do about it?

To help accountants create a solution to this question, business visionary and futurist Richard Worzel, C.F.A., will first survey the major forces driving change in the business realm, including:

  • How the global economy is changing, why tomorrow’s growth will be slower, and where the greatest opportunities lie:
  • How technology will continue to surprise and disrupt our lives, our social patterns, our ways of communication, and, most especially, our jobs and the industries that survive. This assessment will range from intelligent computers, robots, and automation, to Fog computing, 3D printing, and distributed manufacturing. Indeed, the biggest disruptions are not behind, but ahead of us.
  • How the demographics of America, the developed world, and the developing economies are going to shape tomorrow’s world in very different ways, including pressures on government finances, shifts in geopolitics, increases in government regulation, greater instability among voters, and how consumers and voters will see and respond to business; and
  • How the natural world, and our physical environment, are going to force us to change our behavior, from the kinds of infrastructure we must invest in, to the way we use water, to the kinds of food we grow and eat, to how much disposable income we have.

Once Richard has provided this survey of the forces shaping tomorrow, he will lead an exercise in guided foresight, focusing on the factors that will affect the business world within which accountants will operate.

This guided foresight will employ elements of scenario planning, but also, depending on discussions with the conference planners, Wild Card analysis and Backcasting. The purpose will be to help accountants partners to clarify their focus on the future accountants should want, and some preliminary thoughts on how to start the journey in that direction.

Not Good Enough: The Future of Big Data & Analytics

It’s tempting to face a screen-full of real-time business statistics, complete with graphs, dials, and summaries, and believe that you’ve got a handle on what’s happening with your data stream. And it’s true that without good analytics, contemporary businesses, most notably those that work in cyberspace, retail sales, and credit risk, couldn’t function effectively against sophisticated competition without analytics. Yet, as Richard Worzel, today’s leading futurist, points out, all of this reflects today’s marketplace, not tomorrow’s. In this overview of the future of business analytics, he discusses:

  • Why statistical analysis will be relegated to a poor relation among analytical tools;
  • How astonishing advances in technology are changing both what can be done, and how it can be done most effectively;
  • How new tools are emerging that will produce a fundamental change in the interaction between the human looking at a screen, and the analysis going on behind it;
  • The Achilles’ heel of analytics, and suggestions on how to deal with it effectively; and
  • The critical element that does now, and probably always will, determine how business analytics can be used most effectively.

The field is changing with astonishing rapidity, yet knowing how it will change is not clear. To help participants deal with these unknowns, Richard will leave conferees with a toolkit designed to capture the uncertainties ahead, and turn them to your advantage.

Today’s CIO: Curator or Researcher?

Corporate IT has undergone many changes since its inception. It started as the management of accounting machines, then became data processing, then Management Information Systems, and then finally (so far) Information Technology. At every stage, there’s a temptation to take a static view of the status quo, and act as if you are defending something. But as the history of IBM makes clear, that way lies disaster. In the late 1980s and into the early 1990s, IBM lost track of the speed with which computers, communications, and technology moves. If it hadn’t been for Louis Gerstner and the vibrant internal culture of the company, it could well have become just another corporate casualty. Instead, they reinvented themselves and the company, and are today once again an internationally known leader in the field. That difference in attitude about IT is crucial: As a CIO, are you going to be a curator, attempting to preserve the past, or a researcher, inventing the future?

Richard Worzel is a Chartered Financial Analyst, has a degree in computer science, and makes his living as a strategic planner, and one of today’s leading futurists. He will explore the challenges of facing CIOs in a world where the pace of technological change is not only accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing. Among the topics he will discuss are:

  • Why quantity has a quality all its own – and how it’s going to change society, business, and our lives all over again;
  • Why the technology revolution has only just begun;
  • Where science is taking technology, where technology is taking IT, and where IT is taking the corporation;
  • Phase change: Why technology is going to be different, not just faster;
  • Push-back: What society’s reaction to technological change will likely be, and how you should prepare.

Life & IT: The Revolution Begins

You have only to look at the changes that IT have wrought in the world over the last 10 years to see how changes in technology can produce significant changes in business, social, psychographic, governmental, and interpersonal relationships. Now, if you consider that Moore’s Law has been shown to be too conservative, and that the pace of change is not only accelerating, but the rate of acceleration is increasing, it becomes clear that the non-technological changes ahead of us due to IT will be even more startling. In a very real sense, the IT revolution so far has merely achieved lift-off.

The consequences will be far reaching. Business will continue to experience steadily rising competition, and the only successful response will require both innovation and far-seeing forward planning. Individual life will be affected in the way people interact – and fail to interact – with each other, coupled with the accelerating erosion of privacy and community. Governments will continue to lag, both in their use of technology, and in their regulation of it, leaving embarrassing and potentially dangerous gaps for groups seeking to exploit and distort social and economic activity. The biosciences will experience a significant acceleration of discovery, leading to remarkable advances in medical diagnosis, treatment, and cures, while biotechnology will transform industry into a greener, more productive offshoot of agriculture. Computer companions, acting as smart butlers or avatars will become commonplace, as will genuine robots, in both functional forms, and as human simulacra. And the rapid advance of technology will cause a further spreading of the bell-curve of human ability, producing significant winners and losers along the way. The results will be exalting, humbling, dangerous, and enlightening.

Richard Worzel holds a degree in computer science, is a Chartered Financial Analyst with broad experience as an institutional investor, a strategic planner, and one of today’s leading futurists (as well as a professional member of the World Future Society). In this far-ranging presentation he will draw on his IT, business, planning, and futurist credentials to outline the vast potential for the constructive and disruptive impact of the future of IT in our daily lives.

Lethal or Liberating: Corporate Financial Management and The Gale Winds of Tomorrow

The winds of change are reaching gale proportions in business and society, and organizations that are not prepared could face disastrous consequences. Among the forces driving change are:

  • Climate change, the Green Economy and sustainability, and the shifting public expectations of corporate behaviour;
  • Governments are facing enormous challenges, both from the growing importance of international agreements, agencies, and markets, but also from the looming financial pressures of an aging society;
  • Technology is changing all the rules of how business – and social interactions – are conducted, with significant risks consequences for everyone; and
  • Globalization is raising the stakes, both by offering more opportunities, and heightening competition.

Richard Worzel is a strategic planner, best-selling author, a Chartered Financial Analyst, and one of today’s leading futurists. In this broad-ranging overview of the future, he will outline the perils and possibilities of tomorrow, and how financial executives can prepare for what’s ahead.