Even today with all of the technology available to the Financial Executive, what do you think still keeps them awake at night? KPMG surveyed more than 500 finance executives at the end of November and when asked what kept them awake at night, internal controls over financial reporting topped the list at 30 percent. Compare that to last year’s result of 22 percent. With the abundance of applications touting their controls and security, why the uptick?

Today’s threats

Let’s take a look at a very recent threat, perhaps you have heard of “Meltdown” and “Spectre”. These vulnerabilities can allow passwords and other sensitive data on computer chips to be read. The flaws result from the way computers try to guess what users are likely to do next, a process called execution.

These types of cyber threats are a common and unfortunate part of doing business. Even the patches don’t always work well with other software. For example, a fix for Spectre lead to issues turning on some computers with AMD chips and a Meltdown patch for Microsoft Windows required changes from antivirus makers.

So, what does this have to do with the Sleepy CFO?

Over 97 percent of financial executives said they were either somewhat or very concerned about cybersecurity, according to KPMG. With these types of threats, no wonder this keeps them awake.

Today’s CFO must be involved in their company’s security planning and execution. Contrary to popular belief, the main responsibility for protecting corporate data in the cloud lies not with the service provider but with the cloud customer. The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) has created the latest version of its top threats to cloud computing. The number one threat is data breaches. A data breach might be the objective of a targeted attack or simply the result of human error, application vulnerabilities, or poor security practices.

Accounting processes are performed by people. We the people are what makes accounting great. OK, we also are part of the problem. Could the answer be AI (artificial intelligence)? Many people believe that AI will have a significant impact within accounting. What do you think?

Karen Riordan, Vice President SSi Consulting