Women in Accounting: Why Tech-Savviness is In-Demand for Leaders

Women in Accounting: Why Tech-Savviness is In-Demand for Leaders

Here’s a sentence that won’t surprise anyone: Accounting is deeply rooted in manual process, Excel spreadsheets, and even – gulp – green sheets.

But this next sentence should raise your antenna. The new “it” skill in Accounting and Finance is tech-savviness. 

Why? Because today’s fast-paced companies see tech as the primary driver of their rapid pace and growth, especially within their Accounting orgs. But don’t just take our word for it. In our latest Women in Accounting panel, we sat down with three highly accomplished Accounting leaders to unpack this hot topic. Here are a few highlights, and you can watch the full session on-demand now to get all the great advice. 

Our Awesome Accounting Leader Panelists

Rebecca Wang, CPA - Senior Director of Finance at Guideline, a retirement services SaaS company. 
  • Came up through Ernst & Young (EY)
  • Why you should listen to her: For the past several years, Rebecca has been laser focused on utilizing finance technology to enhance efficiency and drive organization maturity. 
Lauren Bowe - Partner at Connor Group leading their automation & analytics practice. 
  • Came up through Deloitte
  • Why you should listen to her: Lauren specializes in IPO-readiness, advising high-growth companies around tech enablement to optimize finance and operations functions. 
Caitlin Steel, CPA - VP of Product at Leapfin
  • Why she’s the perfect moderator for this panel: a CPA and a former CFO, Caitlin transitioned into product building because she’s passionate about solving real accounting challenges with modern software.

Three Key Takeaways

Lean In to Avoid Falling Behind

Worried that evaluating new technology will take time away from your regular Accounting duties? If so, you’re focusing on the wrong problem. In general, it’s true that Accounting and Finance functions tend to adopt technology slower than other department peers (think Marketing, Sales, Engineering, Customer Success, etc.). But the C-suite wants Accounting leaders who are proactive in researching technology and bringing them business cases for new solutions that can make a difference. And tedious, recurring Accounting processes are more than ready for digital transformation.   

“Business leaders support tech adoption and they are setting that tone from the top. They want their teams proactively participating in this. See it as an opportunity to leave your mark on your organization.” 

  • Lauren Bowe
    • Partner, Conner Group

Strategic Collaboration is Necessary 

The word “collaboration” gets thrown around pretty casually these days, and it can be easy to over-generalize or make assumptions about its intended meaning. Our panel offered more concrete guidance when it comes to adoption of Accounting and Finance tech. 

If you want to ensure that the financial logic and outcomes of a new fintech solution will align with company goals, prioritize collaborating with your most strategic internal partners, such as engineering, product management, and data teams – whichever of these teams your org has. Tech purchase decisions are easier when everyone feels their needs are being met – or at least considered. Your cross-functional peers may not have any needs around the new solution, but you may require their support for implementation and maintenance. And the last thing you want is to find out that you’re making your teammates’ jobs harder. You remember the Golden Rule, right? Treat others as you would like to be treated. 

“Go to your cross-functional partners and showcase your problem. Discuss the options and share why you believe this is the best solution from the finance perspective. And ask for their advice. This will help you uncover potential workflow compatibility issues or resource bandwidth concerns."

  • Rebecca Wang
    • Sr. Director of Finance, Guideline

“Teams who have the best adoption are able to clearly articulate their needs. If you start with the end in mind, you can plan and engineer for that desired end result.”

  • Lauren Bowe

Women Leaders Outperform Men

To be clear, we celebrate all great leaders no matter how they identify, and whether they work in Accounting and Finance, or beyond. And we celebrate women all the time, not just during Women’s History Month (we started our Women in Accounting & Finance events back in December ‘23 – watch that one on-demand here). 

But we’re still happy to shine the light a little brighter today on all the awesome women in our industry. And as our esteemed moderator – and badass female leader – Caitlin Steel noted during the conversation, there’s real data to back up that women are better collaborators than men. In fact, women are proving to be more effective than men in most leadership measures. 

  • A study by Leadership Circle found that women outscore men in all leadership effectiveness metrics as measured by “Creative Competencies” and “Reactive Tendencies.” [Source: Forbes.com]
  • The Ready-Now Leaders Report from the Conference Board found that organizations with at least 30% women in leadership roles are 12x more likely to be in the top 20% for financial performance. [Source: Forbes.com]
  • One more for you. Research from Harvard Business Review found women leaders outscored men on 89% of leadership capabilities. For collaboration skills in particular, women scored at 52.6% compared to 50.2% for men. [Source: Harvard Business Review]

Get More Valuable Leadership Advice in the Video

Watch it now for great answers to even more burning questions, including:

  • Are Accountants falling behind the technology curve?
  • Why is now the right time for automation in Accounting?
  • Is it good for your career to be an adopter of technology?
  • What can be learned from failed technology implementations?
  • What are the current best practices for adopting Accounting technology?
  • What are the solutions that are making the biggest impact for Accounting today
Our next Women in Accounting & Finance event will be in May.Follow us on LinkedIn to be the first to hear about this and more.