There's a reason some jokers in business refer to their finance group as the "sales preven☑tion department▂▃▅▆█." Corporate CFOs and controller∈s take very seriously their responsibility for safeguarding company resources, especially cash. When it comes to investing in new te⊙chnology, the typical CFO is li⿶kely to say "no" r〗ight off the bat, and force the person making the capital request ba╭╮ck to the drawing board.

Investing in blockchain technology, whether as a p〾e►nny saver or game changer, should involve a different dynamic. People ●on the b︼︽︾usiness side should be ext◑↔↕▪ra careful to avoid hype and instead argue the strategic benefits of exploring and experimenting with this new approach to data storage and verification. CFOs, for their part, will want to check their natural impulses and keep an open mind.

Unlike 3D TV, blockchain бtech is here to stay. According to survey findings published in December by Deloitte Consulting LLP:

"While blockchain is not quite ready for primцetime, it is ge℃tting closer to its breakout moment every day. ∏The academic hypotheses of five years ago are steadily becoming a reality. Momentum is shifting from a focus on learning and exploring the potential of the technology to identifying and building practical business applications." 

A clear majority (78 percent) of business executives who responded to the survey believed their firms stand to≠ lose competitive advantage if they do not eventually implement blockchain. The sampling of opinion involved more than 1,╞000 seni⌒or managers from seven count#ries. 

The key word here is "eventually," a concept that does not fit neatly into traditional financial metrics for assessing the business value expected from new tech tools. Consider one common yardstick CFOs use: payback period. That meЗtric♂ ignores the pote○ntial econυomic bonanza generated after the break-even period. Worse, it's terrifyingly narrow▊ in the face of inventions that will change the way businesses operaβte over the long rкun.

CFOs need to think differently about blockchain technology, which any s≮ane person will agree is in its early days. Deloitte notes that "84 percent [of survey respπondents] said that blockchain will eventually reach mainstream adoption." The big "but" is that half said blockchain is either (a) not listed among their organizations' top five strategic priorities or (b) not co≈nsidered a priority at all. 

The apparent contradiction is understandable. Industries and individual enterprises stationed at γthe bleeding edge are just now moving out of the proof-of-concept stage and staↁrting to bu⺌ild applications that will be improved, chucked out, or reinvented as times goes by. And many large enterprises prefer to wait and see, letting the early adopters fail first, then coming up from behin∥d ۞۞to gⅢrab the lessons learned.

Deloitte says the best move now is for CFOs and their C-suite counterparts to set aside the tech-oriented debates and focus i∝nstead "on how blockchain will potentially disrupt or shift your operating Ⅺm◇odel." The advisory firm went on to suggest that "at the very l├east, keep an eye on blockchain so t│┃hat [you] can take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves." Take paiⅩns to understand the transformative nature of bloc۩kchain and insist that senior team leaders set up listening posts inside and outside your industry. Finally, take steps now to evolve with the stories of success as well as failure.

It is also s⊥mart to haΨve a small, internal pilot or two. "It may be best to focus on an internal issue such as intercompany transactions," says Deloitte. That process is known for being slow, error-prone, and labor intensive. The firm refers to one case (name withheld) of a large global company that has more than 2,000 people working to track, store, audit, and account for tra≦nsactions involving the transfer of data and payments among 1,000+ worldwide subsidiaries. The cost of maintaining this broken legacy is n◘o doubt off th∩e charts. CFOs should put away yesterday's performance∪ metrics and educate themselves and their teams on how blockchain applications could p灬ossibly help. 

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