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In the digital era, technology is a must-have for future F&A leaders

Image credits: ESB Professional/Shutterstock

The finance and accounting (F&A) teams as well as finance leaders play a crucial role in business growth and recovery. They provide planning, vital analysis, and due diligence to make sure proper decision making. Apparently, there is a demand in skills related to core technology.

A global survey involving C-suite executives and financial professionals that has been commissioned by BlackLine has revealed that only a meagre 14 percent of global CFOs are bullish that their finance function has the necessary skills to help their organisation grow and adapt to new trends and technologies in the next five years.

The survey involved 1,150 business leaders as well as finance professionals across six markets. It suggests that Finance and Accounting is facing a major skills gap that is threatening the ability of F&A to offer the analysis, consulting, planning and due diligence needed to support wider business goals. The respondents expressed their concerns as there is a lack of strategic thinking, business leadership skills and technology skills. They have also highlighted some major barriers for retaining and recruiting F&A’s future leaders.

Insights of this survey

As per the survey, over 35 percent or one-third of the respondents stated that not all in their finance team possess the skills to help with more strategic work such as planning and analysis. F&A fails to keep up with other aspects of the business in the digital transformation era.

When inquired about the skills that are needed by the company to adapt and grow over the next five years, 40 percent of the C-suite respondents admitted that they are concerned that their organisation does not possess the skills to undergo the digital transformation as quickly as their rivals.

The core reason for this issue is the inability to find people with adequate technology and F&A skills. Over 27 percent of the global respondents stated that they do not have enough people with software and technology experience within the finance function. This has increased to over 31 percent among CFOs.

Talking about acquiring new talent for the finance function, it is clear that experience and tech skills are highly demanded. Nearly 41 percent of the respondents believe that their company requires people with knowledge of financial systems integration. Over one-third of them are looking for people who have knowledge or experience with financial automation solutions or intelligent automation.

Additionally, a quarter said legacy technology and processes at their organisation make it difficult to attract the best candidates. In fact, legacy technology and processes were seen as more of a challenge for recruitment than being able to offer a competitive salary.