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4 Opportunities for Development Professionals to Partner With Finance Teams

Tuesday, January 28, 2020
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As businesses continue to rapidly transform in the face of technological disruption, so do the skills and competencies necessary to keep pace with this change.

To drive results, there is an increasing expectation that the finance function adds value across the entire business. Finance leaders understand that their teams are going to need to bridge the skills gap—and quickly. In fact, in a recent survey of global finance leaders, more than 50 percent agreed that current finance competencies will need to change significantly in the next three years.

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants is a global organization combining the strengths of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), with more than 657,000 members and students. Many of them are finance professionals looking for ways to sharpen their skills and drive more value for their organizations.

This post highlights four key areas where talent development professionals can help cultivate greater skills and new capabilities in their internal finance teams. Incorporating these areas into your development plans for 2020 and beyond will position your organization for success well into the future.

Technology

Many emerging opportunities for the finance function are based in technology. According to an Accounting Today survey, the impact of new technology and the ability to adapt to the rapid pace of change in the accounting and finance spaces are the top two concerns keeping industry leaders up at night. This presents a clear opportunity for upskilling finance professionals to benefit the business.

It’s essential that finance teams think about how to harness blockchain, robotic process automation, and artificial intelligence, as well as how to mitigate the risks that cybersecurity poses in an increasingly interconnected, digital environment. The scope of these technologies is expanding rapidly, with the global blockchain market expected to grow to $23.3 billion by 2023, as more companies adopt this technology to increase the security and speed of their transactions.

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Data Analysis

Big data technology allows finance teams to have increased visibility into enterprise and customer information. However, the sheer volume of data can be overwhelming and without the right skills, it can be difficult to derive meaningful insights that drive value for your business. Senior finance executives and CFOs in one study said they wanted more analytical skills on their team to deliver the forward-looking analyses their organizations need. Finance must be able to determine what’s causing the data to appear the way it is, predict the outcomes of various actions, and provide these insights and recommendations to executives.

Communication

To truly move the needle on the value the finance function provides, there should be an increased focus on training opportunities that develop the interpersonal and communication skills. It’s critical that finance professionals be able to get their point across effectively. Doing so means speaking the language of business, not finance jargon. They must understand their audience and convey the story behind the numbers in a clear, concise manner so that leadership can make better decisions.

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Leadership

Strong leadership is essential if an organization wants to achieve its goals and operate efficiently. As tens of thousands of baby boomers reach retirement age, organizations are losing vast institutional knowledge along with leadership capability. It’s imperative that finance teams work with talent professionals to ensure emerging leaders receive training in areas such as teaming, coaching, mentoring, and driving performance. Talent professionals can help finance leaders identify high-performing individuals, develop future leaders, and strengthen succession plans.

By focusing on these four areas, talent development professionals can identify the tools and resources they need to strengthen the skills of their finance teams. This will allow them to be better positioned as trainers and set their organizations up for success in 2020 and beyond.

In follow up posts, each of the opportunities mentioned here will be further explored, along with examples of specific opportunities that talent development professionals can use to increase the performance of their finance teams.

About the Author

Clar Rosso is the executive vice president, engagement and learning innovation, for the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants In this role, she leads the development and execution of strategy to support global competency development and lifelong learning for the finance and accounting profession. Her teams are committed to delivering innovative experiences, products, and services that advance individual and corporate goals in a rapidly evolving business environment. She also leads the association’s business development and channel teams. As vice president of member learning and competency at the AICPA, Rosso was instrumental in the development and execution of the organization’s future of learning vision.

Prior to joining AICPA, Rosso worked as chief operating officer of the California Society of CPAs (CalCPA) and the CalCPA Education Foundation. Prior to CalCPA, she worked as an educator, magazine writer, and sports reporter. Rosso holds a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and communications from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree in special education from San Francisco State University. She was recently named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting by Accounting Today.

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