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Your organisation has a digital footprint, and it's valuable!



A precious asset in every organisation is its digital footprint. Often left to IT or marketing teams to manage, now is the time for Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) to extract the maximum value from the organisation's digital footprint while minimising the risk of litigation from a lack of compliance.


As investment in digital services grows, so does the volume of publicly available information. Against this backdrop, the requirement to comply with The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has become more pressing. Yet, research shows that 41% of an organisation's digital footprint is unknown, while 96% publicly fails essential accessibility compliance. In short, spending and claims have risen together over the last five years.



Unlocking the Chief Value Officer opportunity


The good news is that CFOs are well-placed to take ownership of this area and drive positive change. By using evidence-based reporting and information to understand the current situation regarding publicly available information and how compliant and accessible it is, CFOs can have confidence and clarity in the position of their digital landscape in terms of accessibility and extract the maximum value from it.


Given the CFO's responsibility to deliver shareholder value, hence the Chief Value Officer tag, it makes sense that they should obtain independent validation. Vendors must be accountable for the work they're doing. A builder doesn't sign off their work, so why should the web team or vendors?


By embracing a mindset of independent reporting and information – which leads to data-driven decision-making and better collaboration – CFOs have an opportunity to deliver value in many ways:


Reduce spend, cut carbon footprint: By identifying duplicate content through accurate, independent reporting – and removing 50% of it – expenditure is reduced. The organisation's carbon footprint reduces too. Incredibly, 10% of staff using the wrong holiday form in 2019 is estimated to have wasted UK Central Government $160m.


One billion more customers: The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that over 1 billion people worldwide and approximately 86 million people in the US alone may be unable to access websites not designed with accessibility in mind. Put another way, that's over 1 billion more customers who could be using a website.


Positively impact brand value: The foundation of a positive brand image is positive interaction with that brand. Offer an accessible, compliant experience, and brand value will be improved.


Reduce the risk and hidden costs of non-compliance: Reducing the risk of litigation is a crucial objective for all organisations and one that matters to CFOs. In February 2022, WebAIM found that 96.8% of the top 1 million website home pages were not compliant with ADA regulations. Litigation is 320 times more likely than a cyber hit, and cost exposure is at least five times greater than most ransomware claims. Then there are the hidden costs of non-compliance, such as distraction and fines, not to mention regulatory enquires.


More customers will find you, driving sales value: Search engine algorithms have accessibility at their core. ADA-compliant websites will contribute to better search rankings, meaning more site traffic. More traffic means more leads and the potential for more revenue.


Do more with less: Through independent, factual reporting, board reports are made simple, and a better understanding of digital teams' challenges in managing compliance will follow. CFOs will also have the evidence to move teams away from the “but we’ve always done it that way” mindset. Today's ineffective spending reduces, while tomorrow's success comes into sharper focus.


Delivering value today, tomorrow, and in the future


By shifting away from vanity reporting and towards accountable reporting that offers unbiased clarity, CFOs can maximise the value of an organisation's digital presence. The immediate problems of ineffective spending diminish, the ongoing impact of hidden costs and distractions reduce, and the long-term effects of eroding online trust, diluting brand value, and devaluating share price are alleviated. That's an attractive proposition for any CFO.

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