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The Future of Finance and Quality Control

ESB students take a virtual tour of International trade fair for quality assurance

By Nadine Scherb, Angelique Vanessa Zobel, Alisa Michaela Harter und Vanessa Ancora

On November 26, 2020, the International Association of Controllers (ICV) took four students of the MSc International Accounting, Controlling and Taxation on a virtual tour of the 18th International trade fair for quality assurance in Stuttgart. In line with the motto "The crisis as an opportunity?! - New realities for controlling and finance", the conference for the first time took place in an online 3D format and provided new insights. The participants had a wide choice of topics, including Performance, Sustainability, Finance, New Work, Digitalization/Automation and the Controller's Toolbox.

Each participant was able to create their own avatar and take their first steps in 3D space. The students took in their virtual surroundings through the eyes of the avatar. The experience of hearing and seeing in 3D was also exciting. In “chat corners”, the participants had the opportunity to swap ideas. In the interactive conference room, the participants were able to react directly to the speakers. Meanwhile, in the workshop rooms, they presented their own ideas and showed them on a virtual flipchart.

The event began with presenters and participants getting to know each other. In his keynote address, Dr. Nicholas Matten, managing director of Stiebel Eltron GmbH & Co.KG, spoke about the opportunities for new, innovative business models arising from the Coronavirus pandemic. He also reported on current changes in corporate management with regard to key performance indicators (KPIs) used and budgeting with scenarios.

As part of the MSc International Accounting, Controlling and Taxation program, students have analyzed the impact of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) on a controller's work environment. The event was therefore of particular interest to them. The pandemic caused by Covid-19 is a milestone for the advancement of digitalization in all business areas. In this context, RPA systems and artificial intelligence are seen as taking on a greater role in the control of corporate processes. Applying such automation measures has a particular impact on competitiveness and at the same time leads to increased efficiency. In a workshop, the students examined the role of the controller as a sparring partner and identified possible areas of application for RPA.

Other sessions focused on "New Work". These were aimed in particular at a modern corporate culture, without losing sight of cross-functional collaboration, mobile working and flexible office concepts. The areas of sustainability and finance were also addressed.

For the students, the event was highly informative. „The workshops required active participation and allowed us to obtain quite practical impressions. We valued this exciting event due to the insightful views into distribution of work in the future,“ said Vanessa Ancora, student oft he MSc International Accounting, Controlling and Taxation.