If given birds-eye views of oceans, forests or deserts, numerous chief monetary officers might struggle to link them to economic preparation or cash flow administration. however with stress for companies to demonstrate their sustainability qualifications, satellite imaging also technologies are becoming progressively highly relevant to the job for the cfo.

The technologies are evolving at a rapid rate. remote detectors and artificial intelligence tools now make it possible to trace from water air pollution and deforestation to dark fleets of vessels whose fishing techniques breach ecological or human being legal rights laws.

These are problems to which finance features must pay close attention, states andr haag, main monetary officer at triodos bank, an ethically focused dutch standard bank.

The cfo plays an important role in generating price, and thats now alot more than old-fashioned monetary worth its about sustainability and generating influence.

Ultimately, technology can make calculating and managing all this work a lot easier. with unprecedented quantities of data becoming produced, the application of ai and data analytics can allow more accurate evaluations of organizations environmental, social and governance (esg) overall performance than was previously feasible.

For sustainability its phenomenal, says georg kell, chairman of arabesque, an esg quantitative asset supervisor that utilizes ai and big information to evaluate the performance of globally detailed organizations. interpretive power is increased [by technology] with its ability to evaluate financial investment dangers and options.

Pressure for cfos to understand and examine esg-related dangers and options is coming from numerous quarters.improving the companys budget is the one motivation.

They will have unearthed that for debt funding, whether through bonds or loans, they could get preferential problems when they choose green or sustainability bonds, says mr kell. so its a market-led inducement which have brought many to this schedule.

At the same time, more investors need develop profiles containing businesses which are dealing with problems including individual rights and weather change.

What this means is chief economic officials need to comprehend how to use technology and data to show their particular companys esg overall performance and communicate it whether that be through reporting and disclosures or direct contact to asset supervisors and people such pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.

A further driver could be the shifting regulating landscape. in uk, like, the financial reporting council, the accounting watchdog, is pushing for companies to deliver investors with additional information about weather risks. and mr kell alludes to the committed package of guidelines referred to as european green deal, along with pledges by asia, south korea and japan of becoming carbon-neutral economies.

Theres broad agreement, especially after the biden election, that were back to a competition to the top on decarbonisation, he says.

Beyond this, however, finance chiefs also need to react to changes in business strategy, as main executives recognise the potential risks and possibilities esg presents to their companies.

The monetary return factor has actually shifted this from being just about durability with regards to the benefits conferred on environment and culture, as to what effect it has on businesses and their particular performance, claims colin mayer, teacher of administration scientific studies within university of oxfords sad business school.

For finance chiefs, the change will not be easy. in the first place, they need to understand how investment property on new technologies will give you a return on financial investment. if you don't can perform that, its difficult to fund and follow those technologies, says ankur agrawal, a partner within the strategy and corporate finance training at mckinsey.

Bar chart of percentage of cfos anticipating that it is difficult to achieve objectives in 2021 (per cent) showing tech brings tough difficulties forward for finance chiefs

The main focus on technology may also need assets into brand-new forms of skill. whether its bookkeeping tools, higher level analytics or normal language handling, you may need a different sort of collection of finance experts to utilize those technologies, states mr agrawal.

Technology alone won't allow cfos to really make the right choices pertaining to social and environmental effect. this, claims prof mayer, is basically because tools such as for example ai and device understanding behave in the manner people artwork all of them to respond whether which prioritising profit and shareholder worth, or esg targets.

The main element is who is programming the ai formulas as well as what purpose, he claims. it raises fundamental issues about whoever interests [cfos] are serving.

Mr haag argues that, including adopting brand new technologies, finance professionals need to make a social move. nearly all are in traditional cfo role, maximising shareholder value and revenue, while the brand-new profile is moving to a wider stakeholder model focused on developing a sustainable economic climate, he claims.

This undoubtedly expands the role associated with the finance purpose. technology and decarbonisation are right here to keep, says arabesques mr kell. cfos need a more holistic knowledge of the market system, and not only associated with narrow field of finance.