Steve Palomino, CPA/CITP, CGMA

Steve Palomno, CPA/CTP, CGMA

‘Focus on learnng the phlosophy of technology’

An early leader n technology: As a staff accountant n the late 1990s, enjoyed workng as an accountant, but the manual work was not a lot of fun for me. thought, we have computers, let’s use them. Usng Access and Excel, was able to produce nformaton faster and more effcently. Over tme, ’ve been able to buld up my credentals around technology.

When contemplatng a major technology overhaul: Thnk about what your strategy s frst. Why are you dong ths? You say you have a problem, but do you? f your problem s that you have enough staff and you thnk more technology wll change that, t won’t. Start wth the frst; fnd out your problem, quantfy t, and then go to product selecton. Once you’ve defned the requrements, then defne your measure of success — ths s crtl, t helps you set project mless.

Take a team, rather than a superuser, approach: Eosure s the best way to ensure the fnance team makes the most of new technology tools. Ths may be old school, but, whle the dea of a superuser who s traned and brngs that tranng back to the team s good and ’ve used t many tmes, the challenge s that you nadvertently create a key person dependency. The more the group takes ownershp, the more they have nput nto the change, the more lkely they’ll use the tool, and t won’t st on the shelf. The users, accountants mostly, know when somethng’s wrong whereas the leader may not have a clear pcture. By ncludng the fnance team early on, you develop ownershp and get valuable nput that you mght not otherwse receve.

The changng role of accountants: As technology advances, accountants are gong to have to man these technologes and become problem-solvers, whch thnk s the fun part of accountng. Accountants of the future wll be more thought leaders. The accountant that’s currently practcng that has fve to 15 years of eerence needs to focus on learnng the phlosophy of technology. You need to become a programmer, but attend the webnars, take courses, go to events. From an organzatonal perspectve, f you are for technologl shfts, you’ll ether become extnct, or you’ll lose a lot of money. see t over and over — people want to deal wth technology, or they thnk t’s too eensve, or they have the tme. t’s gong to happen, regardless. The wave s cng upon your shore; you n gnore t, but t’s comng.

— As told to Lea Hart, a freelance wrter based n Durham, N.C. To comment on ths artcle or to suggest an dea for another artcle, contact Ken Tysac, the JofA‘s edtoral drector, at