Fintech’s Future Foretold – Takeaways on Trends for IT Auditors: Cangemi Perspectives

Michael P. Cangemi, a former CAE, CFO & CEO, is a Senior Fellow and Advisory Board Member of the Rutgers Continuous Auditing and Reporting Lab. 


As many readers might know, ISACA recently celebrated its 50th anniversary year. For the last two years I have served on an ISACA worldwide working party where we have looked back, honoring past contributions to IT Audit and Security, and also looked ahead to new technology.


Appropriately, ISACA recently published a report, Next Decade of Tech: Envisioning The 2020s, based on the results of a survey of over 5,000 global technology professionals and ISACA members and certificate holders from 139 countries across the globe.


According to survey results, most respondents are optimistic about how tech will affect their careers (59%), but interestingly not as optimistic about how tech will affect the general public (40%). This may reflect the nature of the ISACA community, which tends to be very involved with IT vulnerabilities and cryptosecurity. Keep this in mind when reviewing their prognostications in general.


This concern is also evidenced in the survey on preparedness. Most respondents (81%) said enterprises are not investing enough in the people skills needed to navigate the next decade of tech. While this may be true, what it does not communicate is the recent accomplishments using new technologies for business process improvement (BPI) including audit process improvement (API).


I see the pace of change as rapid. For example, with the sharpened focus on organizing data, implementing data analytics, and accelerating BPI in finance, operations and audit/GRC functions. Also, robotic process automation (RPA) is not mentioned. However, the survey does imply that these improvements will accelerate with the expanded use of artificial intelligence (AI).


Here are my top IT trends for the 2020s:


AI’s rise continues


AI tops my list of new technologies with the greatest impact on the 2020s. In the ISACA survey there is clear agreement, with 93% believing AI will reshape how most jobs are performed and, more importantly, impact the profitability of most enterprises.


The Great Cloud Migration


I see the migration to cloud platforms and use of big data as a very critical trend, which is supported by the ISACA survey. We see this already growing rapidly, with the use of monitoring systems using data analytics, which continue to add the use of AI.


Spotlight on data governance and privacy


I share the frustrations of IT auditors with the lack of data organization. Hey, no surprise here, no one thought about data as an asset until the last decade. However, data organization and data governance are going to be resolved in the 2020s. As part of this process, privacy controls and rights are expanding. I believe, and 49% of respondents agree, the next decade will see much improvement and expansion of privacy rights.


Digital Natives will run the show


I was hooked on tech early in my accounting career. Now that it is becoming fully integrated in daily life, the next generation, in all professions, will no doubt embrace tech advances. In the survey they refer to this trend as the “Rise of the Digital Natives”: defined as “those who grew up during the age of the mainstream digital technology.”


The respondents and I believe:


  • Digital Natives will see cyber security as a higher priority.
  • Enterprises will become more proactive about deploying emerging technologies.
  • Boards of directors will become more technology-savvy.


A few additional thoughts from the survey:


  • I recently became involved with software for digital assets including various forms of crypto or digital currency and blockchain (distributed ledgers). This is no doubt on my list of major tech trends for the next decade. According to the survey we will be phasing out several routine activities like using cash, physical keys, paper boarding passes and actually going to physical locations.
  • I agree with the 40% who say it is likely or very likely that driver-less cars will be mainstream in their countries. I believe quantum computers will be deployed but not as fast as the 46% who say quantum computers will begin to replace some of the processing from digital computers in the next five years.
  • 50% say it will become increasingly common for countries to attempt to “disconnect” from the global internet. This is interesting and may be a necessity if we do not otherwise address cyber warfare.


Overall the survey makes for an interesting read and will help you focus on how tech will change in general, and how you should plan for change in the ITAudit/GRC professions. As I pointed out, the GRC focus sometimes blurs the view into the organization’s tech improvements. Pay attention to the rapidly expanding business process improvements, using RPA and blockchain (distributed ledgers). My advice: be prepared to audit and look for how these new technologies can help your GRC objectives. It is rarely a mistake to expand the use of automation; it worked for me in my career.


Note: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.


About Michael P. Cangemi: Michael P. Cangemi is a senior fellow at Rutgers University and serves on the Rutgers Continuous Auditing and Reporting Lab Advisory Board. A former CFO and CEO, a prolific writer, active speaker and senior advisor to various companies, Mr. Cangemi now focuses on providing continuous auditing, continuous monitoring and analytics intelligence for GRC, Finance and Business Process Improvements. He serves on FEI’s Committee on Finance & Technology (CFIT) and their GRC Sub Committee; the EDPACS Editorial Advisory Board; and the Lukka Audit Advisory Board focused on auditing blockchain.  His book Managing the Audit Function 3rd Edition was published by Wiley and has been translated into Chinese and Serbian.