The skill set of the modern chief financial officers (CFOs) has become broader. Their skills must be strong in analytical and communication skills so that they can make sense of complex financial data. Very often their knowledge also needs to stretch areas such as business transformation, regulation, supply chain management, risk management, reporting and IT.
CFOs tend to play a more active leadership role and have to reconsider their traditional approaches to overcome cost pressures, identifying inefficiencies and finding new investment opportunities. In other words, to keep up, the modern day CFOs have to enhance their skillset, rely on the automation of key business processes and rely more on technology to transform data into actionable insights.
Many businesses have not made the investment in systems and processes to ensure the demands of the CFOs role is met, so that is a challenge in itself.
According to a Finance Talent Survey carried out by Deloitte in 2013, 40% of CFOs were pessimistic about their ability to meet talent acquisition demands in the future despite expanding their recruiting strategies.
Since 2013, there has been a drive to upskill within the finance and accounting departments and the rewards for the ambitious are clear to see with median annual salaries tipping £95k.
Thought does need to be given to the most suitable path to securing tomorrow’s CFO roles. One thing is clear: technology is deeply entangled in the finance function. From big data to the cloud, technology is changing the way accountants and finance professionals do business. The modern CFO candidate will need to be able to articulate the risks and benefits of cloud applications and the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, big data analysis, cybersecurity, and other innovations now transforming the finance industry.
Finance teams should consider investing in people with the appropriate capabilities to help the business deliver on its digital age strategy, therefore they need to expect to train the current staff. The days of the one-dimensional CFO are long gone.
If you would like to discuss your digital age strategy from a financial perspective, please contact Stuart Smith at Watersmiths on 07785 556 450.