As we enter an increasingly automated world, talent cultivation and retention must adjust accordingly. This rings particularly true for finance and accounting (F&A) teams, who are often at the forefront of this digital transformation, with CFOs playing a key role in driving the process throughout their organization.
In fact, this digital transformation will create a new finance workforce, emphasizing the necessity of the learning worker. But therein lies the problem, as a Q3 2019 Deloitte report stated that talent is “one of CFOs’ top internal risks.” With so much change and with that change unlikely to slow, it’s important finance leaders are strategic in how they hire. They can’t hire for specific skill sets which may become obsolete, but instead need to build teams with workers that are willing to learn and adapt to change.
Let’s explore what it takes to be a modern-day finance employee and how a willingness to learn will empower teams to succeed.
Traditional Work, Transactional Staff
Rewind the clocks a few years back — job openings, core competencies, and organizational structures looked very different for F&A teams. In the past, the F&A staffing profile required finding the right mix of accountants and transactional staff; those that could handle the complex, labor-intensive, and detail-oriented tasks associated with traditional finance work. However, this job description is changing in the next-generation finance world. As organizations move beyond outdated infrastructure and leverage technology such as intelligent automation, employees’ technical understanding and critical thinking skills must grow in tandem.
The New Norm
With such advanced technology now in play, ongoing learning and flexibility are the new currency for a long-lasting career. Now that the days of labor-intensive work are over, a significant amount of mental agility is required for F&A talent to succeed. The learning worker must instead be nimble, think quickly on their feet, quickly access information, leverage analytics to problem-solve, and predict the future.
For management, leaders need to assess if they have the right staff with the necessary mix of skills to push their organization’s digital journey forward. A healthy mix of skills includes financial, analytical, technical, and business acumen, along with the aforementioned desire to learn and grow. These skills aren’t exactly a dime a dozen and can vary based off where a professional is in his or her career. For example, a younger accountant with technical skills may lack the business acumen only honed through a long career. Conversely, those with experience in business may lack the technical expertise of a recent Master of Accounting (MACC) graduate. A willingness to learn is still necessary — it’s just a matter of ‘what’ the worker needs to learn.
Products That Empower People
As employees express a willingness to learn new skills and adopt cutting-edge technology, finance leaders must take a hard look at how they hire, train, and upskill talent. Moreover, leaders must examine the tools they’re equipping their people with to be successful. By pairing adaptable, eager employees with powerful, advanced technology, businesses ensure that they are prepared for whatever changes and new trends are ahead. The end result? Future-proofed finance departments primed to support their organization’s transformation journey.