Upskilling – finance ready, for insight and action

‘The ongoing transformation of talent is now clearly being represented in the finance function. CFOs are committing to redesigning finance jobs, rethinking sources of talent, and redeveloping finance leadership and learning programs. A new model for finance, aligning workforce competencies with new technologies, is emerging’ Rob Dicks, national leader for Deloitte’s Human Capital CFO market offering, and a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP.

With the rise of disruptive challenges, consumer expectations and emerging technologies, the hand is now being forced for traditional finance teams to become adopters of change and lead with forward thinking agendas.

As organisations face these complex changing environments, the expectation is for finance to leverage new and emerging technologies and to turn data insights into meaningful information. The contribution of the finance function has never been under so much pressure to deliver more informative and qualitative data, through the rise of these complexities and to collaborate and partner with other functions providing a unified approach to delivering the plans and strategy of the business.

Talent roadmaps are now considering how traditional finance roles will disappear and new roles, skills and career paths will be needed. From identifying priorities and skill sets required to fill the increasing gaps within this talent pool, organisations will start to create dynamic, agile and forward-thinking teams.

It is expected that the modern-day finance leader will require a blend of leadership, financial expertise, be tech savvy, emotionally intelligent, communicate with clear decision making capabilities and have a sound understanding of governance and compliance within their sector. With the increasing expectations placed on the head of functions, multi-disciplinary and cross functional capabilities will be required in teams, in support of the agenda.

Organisations are focusing on people and purpose; a collaborative workforce will glue the disruptive factors together. Business Partnering and Data Analytics and Insights have now become an integral part of forward thinking and smart decision-making finance teams.

Business Partnering

Business partners are providing a direct interface with stakeholders and customers, both internal and external to the organisation. By breaking down existing barriers, these business partners are becoming increasingly integrated within the organisation, and cross functional and collaborative with other business functions and co-workers. When working closely with all areas of the business, it allows an environment that adopts the free flow of information, data and collaborative working.

Strong business partners are embracing the building of relationships, being able to question plans, models, offering different opinions and methods, operationalising vision and developing strong project management and change orientated practices. The focus now is for business partners to provide analysis and a clear communication path to all key stakeholders within the business, report on the financial performance and commercial procedures, to be an advocate of the changes required and to operationalise and support the deliverance of financial plans and targets through collaborative means.

The shift to the more continuous, real-time, and automated finance organisation is finally the enabler for finance to switch gears into being more strategic, analytical, and a real business partner. (FSN Publishing 2016, The Future of the Finance Function)

Data Analytics and Insights

With the increased demand of customer expectations and competition, the need for insightful information for quick decision making has never been so relevant and key to organisations. It has always been critical for companies to create a competitive advantage and supply enhanced value products and services; however, with technological advancements the risk of becoming stagnant or left behind has increased exponentially.

Scenario planning provides the basis of business intelligence required to build strong forecasts and plans, analysing key trends to apply to these models and therefore data scientists and digital skilled analytical professionals will be critical in helping the finance function give data a fresh perspective and provide strategic insight. AI and machine learning will enhance this, there will be a need for predictive analytics, and statistical/trend analysis to predict the future, forecast performance, and manage risks. Finding those that can support the finance function will be a critical path within the talent roadmap, as more data and analytical roles are integrated within F P&A areas. As The Economist reported in 2017:

‘The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data’.

Upskilling – Finance ready for insight and action

Organisations are now beginning to recognise the need to upskill within these areas as there is a shortage of digital and data skills. Some organisations have gone further in creating new talent incubators through their own centres of excellence. By developing their own multi- disciplinary teams they are heightening their skills, creating cross functional roles and learning a breadth of new skills to be applied within their own function.

There is a wave of ‘new finance’ moving finance up the value chain by creating more value enhancing advisory roles. Whilst this wave of stripping, re-skilling, and retaining is emerging, organisations are adopting AD&D (application, development and delivery) professionals and are sending them into the heart of teams to interject, operationalise and support the functions through their transformation projects and roadmap journeys. (Advisory and the Gig Economy are addressing the temporary talent shortages). As Dave Bookbinder comments:

‘The value of a business is a function of how well the financial capital and the intellectual capital managed by the human capital. You’d better get the human capital part right.’

At Sitka Recruitment, we understand the evolution of the finance function and the skills organisations need in order to ‘stay ahead of the game’. To discuss your finance team structure, any recruitment needs you have or for any other talent related matter please contact us today.

To find out how we can work with you, please drop us a line