Digital Day 2019: What does innovation cost?

19 November 2019, 09:30-18:00 BluePoint Brussels, Brussels, Belgium View on Google Maps

On 19 November, we held our 3rd Digital Day on the cost of innovation. Over 100 participants joined our debate on the full impact of digitalisation, addressing:

  • How much does it cost to go digital?
  • How environmentally friendly is it?
  • Do we go digital in proportion with our business needs?

During Digital Day 2019, we celebrated our members’ most promising digital initiatives with the first Digitalisation Awards, see who won.

Watch our interviews with some of the speakers from Digital Day

Twitter: #DigitalDayEU and @AccountancyEU

Technology is transforming our lives

Matthew Griffin (Founder and CEO, 311 Institute) highlighted the range of new technologies that are coming and how they can change how we do business and live. The accountancy profession can offer a thought-leadership role to clients on how to harness digitalisation effectively.

Watch Matthew Griffin’s keynote speech


Digital environment: synergies between technology and environment

Mats Engstrom (Analyst, Growth Analysis), Martha Ivanovas (Government Affairs Manager EMEA, DELL Technologies) and Olivier Boutellis-Taft (CEO, Accountancy Europe) noted that:

  • companies need expertise to measure the environmental impact of digital tools – accountants can help develop tools to measure and disclose the carbon footprint of going digital
  • there needs to be a holistic perspective to assess where the environmental impact starts and where it ends – from materials sourcing and manufacturing, to use and disposal
  • benchmarks, standards and multidisciplinary expertise help prevent greenwashing – more emphasis is expected by policymakers and regulators on ecolabelling, standardisation and certification of digital products and services

Watch the panel here 


Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the EU 

Dana Eleftheriadou (Head of Advanced Technologies Team, DG Grow European Commission) underlined that AI is contributing to social, economic and environmental challenges, and it will have an impact on all types of jobs and sectors. The EU cannot miss this opportunity, and it is going to invest 20 million by 2020, in a joint effort with Member States.

The EU’s AI strategy has 3 pillars:

  • boost technology, industry capacity and AI uptake
  • prepare for socio-economic changes
  • ensure an appropriate ethical and legal framework

Watch Dana Eleftheriadou’s keynote speech here


Digital economy: digital in proportion with SME business needs

Louis van Garderen (Founder, JOINSON&SPICE), Aynsley Damery (CEO, Clarity) and Sebastiano Toffaletti (Secretary General, Digital SME Alliance) discussed that:

  • small businesses power the entire economy – before investing in technology, it is essential to understand the challenges SMEs are facing, why small businesses may fail and how technology can help
  • investing in technology is more than just buying a product off the shelf – it’s about becoming a digital company, changing the mindset and business model
  • the real challenge is how to adapt SMEs practices to new digital solutions


Watch the panel here


Digital accountants: how to measure innovation & how to introduce new technologies

Jeanne Boillet (Global Assurance Innovation Leader, EY) spoke about how accountants can help businesses assess their investment in technology and understand its environmental impact, adding that:

  • innovation is a must – even more important than measuring the cost of innovation, is the cost of not innovating and the risk of being disrupted
  • purpose can serve as a guiding light through uncertainty and disruption to inspire, transform and grow organisations

Watch the session here


In the second interview, Bart Van Coile (President, IAB/IEC) addressed the struggles that SMEs face in introducing digitalisation, stressing that:

  • change management is key – get the staff and clients on board to the idea of the change
  • trust is essential for clients to be willing to give access to their data
  • the accountancy profession will offer new and more services in the future

Watch the session here 





Watch the full event video 


  • 1.02 Florin Toma, President, Accountancy Europe
  • 5.25 Matthew Griffin, Founder and CEO, 311 Institute
  • 52.04 1st Panel on “Digital environment: synergies between technology and environment”
  • 1:52.2 Dana Eleftheriadou, Head of Advanced Technologies Team, DG GROW, European Commission
  • 2:22.46 2nd Panel on “Digital economy: digital in proportion with our business needs”
  • 3:09.56 3rd Panel on “Digital accountants: how to measure innovation” – with Jeanne Boillet, Global Assurance Innovation leader, EY
  • 3:37.02 3rd Panel on “Digital accountants: how to measure innovation” – with Bart Van Coile, President, IAB/IEC
  • 4:17:42 Digitalisation Awards ceremony, presented by Eva Kaili, Member of the European Parliament
  • 4:36:36 Closing speech by Olivier Boutellis-Taft, CEO, Accountancy Europe
  • 4:44:30 How honest are we? Our ecological impact by Eleni Kanelli, Head of Advocacy, Accountancy Europe

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3 October 2023

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12 October 2023

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