Ten Minutes Talking Tech!

James Solomons, Global CFO, Xref had the opportunity to sit down with Phil McKay, CFO at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions – Pacific & Northeast Asia for the first edition of ’10 Minutes Talking Tech’

Having had the privilege to speak with literally hundreds of CFOs over the past five years, I have realised that CFOs love to learn from one another when it comes to technology – The selections and options are vast and time poor CFOs want to avoid costly mistakes or steep learning curves.

As such, this is the first edition of ‘10 Minutes Talking Tech’, where I connect with a dynamic CFO to understand their approach to technology, top tips and tech stack hacks… For the inaugural interview, I was delighted to re-connect with Phil McKay, CFO at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions to get his take on capitalising on the latest finance innovations.

Recent Impactful Tech Advances & Adopting New Finance Tools

McKay highlighted their ERP upgrade using Boomi as an integration platform as a crucial step.

“It will enable us to link complementary cloud systems flexibly while optimizing core processes giving us niche solutions for the business,” he explained.

He’s particularly bullish on robotic process automation (RPA) given the promise of automating repetitive tasks. “We’re using ExFlow AP and it has worked well but requires further tweaking to get it right. From a compliance and accounting workflow automation perspective, Floqast has been a great addition to the tech stack.”

McKay is taking a gradual “walk before you run” approach with leading-edge innovations like AI. “We’re keeping an ear to the ground on emerging AI use cases but won’t overextend resources or blaze the trail just yet.”  But they are active and he notes “in the AI space we have been using Ui Path and it has shown us some great results but we are not using it to the extent I’d like. It is a time consuming investment”

Outlook on AI, Blockchain & RPA

McKay preaches measured optimism. “There’s tremendous potential value in innovations like AI, blockchain and RPA, but also many unknowns and risks still,” he said. “CFOs would be wise to watch for proven large-scale use cases before adopting incrementally where there’s a clear ROI.”

He’s paying close attention to early blockchain applications and notes they are using it in the business but like AI will follow others. “Further out, I see AI transformational promise in how we do forecasting, planning and predictive analytics.” But pacing integration with evidence is key in his view.

Advice for peers on implementing new technologies and process

McKay stresses taking a staggered approach. “Start small by focusing investment on low-risk, high-return changes that provide early results,” he advised. “Then use those wins to fund more complex innovations aligned to long-term strategic objectives.”

His key advice to peers on tech adoption? “Tune out the hype and watch what works for industry leaders who love to get hold of shiny new things. Watch how they progress and use their learnings to your advantage”.

He sees tech integration as an iterative process, constantly evaluating emerging tools against business priorities before integrating. “I regularly revisit our roadmap to ensure we’re allocating scarce resources to the innovations that deliver maximum strategic value.”

Current Economic Sentiment

Given significant market uncertainty, McKay remains cautiously optimistic. “There’s lots of unease in the short term,” he admitted. “But challenges also cultivate opportunities over time, so we must be ready to seize opportunities as they present themselves.” 

Key CFO Takeaways >

Gradual Approach: Start with adopting new technologies gradually, focusing on low-risk, high-return changes that provide early results.

Tune Out the Hype: Don’t get caught up in the hype. Instead, learn from industry leaders.

Strategic, Evidence-Based Approach: Adopt a strategic, evidence-based approach to tech integration. Make sure to allocate resources to innovations that deliver maximum strategic value.

AI Adoption: Recognize the potential of AI, but adopt a watch-and-learn approach. Wait for proven use cases before fully embracing it.

Phil’s Tech Stack at ASSA ABLOY – Opening Solutions:


AX 2012 moving to D365 Fin Ops

Reporting, consolidation, forecasting: Oracle Hyperion Financial Management

Performance Reporting: Microsoft Fabric and Power BI

Month End: Floqast

A/P: ExFlow

Statutory Accounts: Acuri

Business Automation: Ui Path

CRM: Microsoft Dynamics 365

Payroll: ADP Payforce

Time & Attendance: Tanda

HRIS: SAP Success Factors

Tax: TBD