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Data security and privacy is major reporting challenge, say CFOs

Security and privacy of data are two of the main reporting challenges for CFOs according to a report by EY. They were the biggest reporting challenges for more than half of respondents (56 per cent), while CFOs in India (68 per cent), China (65 per cent) and the US (63 per cent) are the most concerned about data security and privacy.

EY's Peter Wollmert said: “There is a high level of uncertainty among the finance community on how to approach the issues of data security and privacy. CFOs need to ensure that they have clear governance processes in place for how they look after financial information and ensure that data is both compliant with relevant local laws and is secure – which can be a huge challenge in large and complex organizations.”

Data ownership is one of top concerns

So what is causing the uncertainty about data in the financial community? EY's report suggests that a lack of clarity over data ownership and governance is one of the top concerns, which has a significant impact on reporting effectiveness. And managing data flows according to the privacy laws in different jurisdictions is also a challenge. Respondents also said that assessing the different security standards for data centres versus cloud computing was a key challenge to data protection, privacy and compliance. And almost half said that concerns over security and compliance risks of the cloud are seen as a major barrier to technology transformation and the implementation of innovative new technologies.

Lack of IT integration is challenge

And as shown in the graph below, more than half (53 per cent) of the respondents said that lack of integration between IT systems is also a major challenge for today's corporate reporting environment.

The report – Can innovative corporate reporting build trust in a volatile world? – gathers the results from a survey of more than 1,000 CFOs or financial controllers of large organisations with revenue greater than US$500m across 25 countries.

Wollmert added: “It is no longer a time for reactive corporate reporting. Boards are expecting management to report issues to them in real-time. These increasing demands for more insightful corporate reporting means reporting teams need to draw on the volumes of data available, as well as technology advances, to deliver new levels of insights that board members require to fulfill their governance role.”

CTMfile take: With pressure to improve corporate reporting and report in real-time, CFOs should be looking to maximise their use of financial data - but to do this they need to be confident in their systems and software from a privacy and security point of view.

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