Finance Transformation. Skills For the Future.
Technology Lovato hated we all rely on technology these days? Technical transformation is. US. But technology is any parts of the story. Successful transformation also relies on people. So how can we ensure that finance teams have the right skills and mindset to succeed? Will come to the go beyond disruption pulled cost brought to you by the Association of International Certified, Professional Accountants, unified, voice of the and Seema. I'm Rebecca McCaffrey and I'm based in the CPA and see office in London. Every week we share insights from inside the accounting finance profession that help you stay ahead of the curve, whatever business you're in. This week's episode recorded in July twenty. Twenty is all about skills. Development. I'll be talking about some research we carried out with KPMG. National. Finance transformation, the human perspective, and we'll also be hearing from industry experts. Francis, Howard Benny Colin and Gavin. Johnson about the skills that finance teams need and how to develop these skills. I can twenty eighteen, the research team worked with all recall on a piece of what cold agile finance unleashed by strong global survey of finance leaders. We identified a significant gap between digital skills and digital ambitions I need ten temp sensitive. CFO's believed that teams have the right skills to support their organizations digital ambition meaning that ninety percent of finance teams don't have the skills they need. This was a little bit alarming to say the least. So wanted to understand more. Working with KPMG International, I contacted finance HR leaders around the world and ask them about the skills gaps in their finance functions. They told me that the most significant skills gaps related to digital infrastructure and digital implementation. So, what's your organization's doing to overcome this issue? Back, in February twenty twenty, we discussed this important topic at an event in Dublin which featured an expert panel of members sharing their insights on skills development for finance. covid nineteen had not yet reached Europe as far as any of his new. So we had to pack. Ordonez. I was joined by three excellent panelists that evening I. Francis Howard Head of Capability Development for finance be paid. Within Hans Bernie Cullen CEO of pragman advisory WHO specialize in strategy organizational development and people management, and finally we had KPMG a given Johnson whose expertise includes finance function optimization. It was a really great discussion. So I'd like to go back can share some of the highlights with the charing the discussion Sima Chief Executive Andrew Harding began by France's Howard, what skills her company be a particularly looking to develop in finance stuff at the moment, it's digital first and foremost, but it's also what we call business skills which wraps up, but other people tend to call soft sales and I hate that term because I didn't think they're softer. So I think they're actually very hard edge and then thirdly it's really transformational leadership. And there's a strong linkage with digital because we feel the. Leaders of the future need, quite different skills to succeed in a digital World Competitive Annalong weld. So the whole type of organization is changing and the next. Bright. Idea is possibly gonNA. Come from somebody who's quite junior in the organization. So instead of the people at the top. Holding all the information and the knowledge and cascading down. I think in a modern digital organization, actually sometimes that's reversed, and so we need leaders who are able to. Cope with that kind of disruption that BP experience very much reflects our research findings which showed the importance of digital skills at all levels of the finance function. Francis went on to explain BP's pioneering game to promote digital skills among their employees. We've come up with this idea that we can create a cadre of data scientist from our finance teams. And the way that we're doing that it's actually offering the opportunity to anybody and finance, he wants to take it up. Doesn't matter what level rat whereabouts, the precision they sit where they are geographically. We give them some online courses to complete to prepare them, and we then give them a really tough assessment. And apparently people who even consider themselves. Quite competent. Sometimes come Acropora this assessment, but those who succeed get the opportunity to attend. Official boot camp. and. That's a really hands on. Chance, to practice that programming skills. So we have an expert for party supplier who comes in, we have about twenty people. And they spent three weeks. Working on real life data problems, and then they go back into the business and we give them problems to work on to hone their skills. And we're looking to upskill a really decent percentage of people a. Basic level, and then take about maybe ten percent through to the expert. level. And of course, that's Well, I'll love it because we're investing in them, but it's also very practical thing to do because it's very hard to recruit. Data scientists market. So one thing that has come out of this is that it's not just the youngsters who do really well at the boot camps. And that makes me really pleased because I'm mature in years. People kind of had this assumption that you've got to be fresh out of university or in your twenties whatever to really get this stuff. We've had some folks, surprise us and. The CFO said to me recently that there were a couple of people who are in their fifties and he's been amazed at how they've how they've done how they've got a new lease of life, and so I think that's another thing that's nice about having this open access approach is when not making any assumptions of WHO's going to do really well, because people are surprising, you can read more about finance transformation at BP in our report finance transportation, the human perspective. It's great to be pay taking such an inclusive approach where employees at all ages have the opportunity to get involved and make an impact. Let's hear now from Gavin, Donaldson Kpmg who have a relatively young workforce? What skills are they looking for? What without doubt? The People's goes what we talked about are probably. Most. Important requirement, there's an expectation. You have a technical capability, but if you can't interact and you can't work in turn the or with our clients that doesn't work unless you can actually help the business to make a decision, the business skills you to the whole thing becomes meaningless unless you've got the people skills and the confidence to do something with the analysis and actually bald unfortunately, none of us would be really executing what we need, discharge him, what we need to do. So they've got to come together but increasingly digital world. How can you finance professionals develop these people skills? Only colored enough pragman advisory highlighted the importance of knowing the business. It's critically important that everybody in the finance function who's involved and change gets the opportunity to spend time actually out in the business and understands the purpose of their function. At the end of the day we're storytellers. and. No matter what happens in terms of technology. That's the core of our role, using the numbers to tell story stories absolutely fundamental to our rollers management accountants. It really helps to engage and educate on on finance colleagues. In today's world, we're all learn this and our research highlighted two-thirds, thirds of US keen to learn new skills even if we lack confidence in using them. For influence as spending noted changes in our working practices conserve to promote more adaptive learning mindset. I think one thing that's very different. Now from maybe qualified is that even if you think about the mobile phone and you think about the skins, you've had to learn in order to use mobile technology. We've we have to adopt. There's so many different twos that the rate of twos change in business is ever increasing. So no matter what age you are. You have to learn how to use them. Stephen is creating duck an adoptive mind suss which. I, think. LAYS THE FOUNDATION FOR FOR DEVELOPMENT I? Think. At the end of the day, one of the most important things is there's a lot more availability. It's a lot easier to access learning now. For example, linked and learning is such an amazing treasure trove of. Different learning opportunities, some of which are very very short. So I think it's a lot easier to be adoptive learning now and I think the very fact that every one of us has learned a new skill to to engage in our day to day business every month it seems of moment makes us much more open to that. Bernie? Mentions the needs to evolve and develop. One of the few positive things to come from the covid nineteen pandemic is the speed at which we've all picked up new digital skills. Even, our parents and grandparents and bracing videoconferencing and the wealth of learning opportunities. Available Online. They've self lead and three four courses have been very much at the forefront. As finance professionals, we have see PD requirements because we need to keep learning. That, we heard from BP KPMG about the approaches that larger organizations with sizable training budgets take to develop their stuff. But what about smaller companies. Offered some suggestions for US Amis thinking about building capacity. There are a couple of small things because sometimes with the estimate with SMS and I would do a lot of work with us. amaz-. It's not trying to bite off more than you can chew. So I. Am To folks and getting two things don't first one is. Making sure the. One two or three finance people in the team. They get an opportunity to connect actually in really into the business and first of all, secondly, I would. Think about breaking down, what is it? What problem solve and just trying to solve one problem time and in terms of technology? Bush. If if it's focused on. Getting. More quickly or miraculous whatever you know trying to solve don't. To amass problem, bring in some expensive system think about. Small ways you can bring change because they find a like getting on the treadmill start slow and actually then you can pick up speed small changes can all the difference as often the answers to your problem will come from the workforce selves This idea of collaboration and Co creation was something which came often in my case study interviews, you can read more about these in the report. Staying with the a semi fade. Geffen Donaldson's KPMG with about the potential for collaboration between large corporates Anisimov's. I think firstly. The such, a movement around science will change and what businesses doing to respond and support. That's that actually. The collaboration between. Huge corporate the SME market will naturally overtime start to come closer together. But I think. For more substantive perspective, the idea of a portfolio career, you know somebody doing two days Monday Tuesday. MVP. Wednesday Thursday with your company and a fifth day working for a charity. There are examples of that state, but I'm convinced in five years ten, ten years time. This is going to become the norm. So what you'll find is people who. Perhaps. A. Relatively young finance person. Can spend a few days in an SME and seeing something into end which you will never forget. MVP. GSK. That just doesn't happen. And, bringing that together becomes better. Blend starts develop the finance professionals today. Won't be such an opportunity. The economic environment we find ourselves in today means we're likely to see a lot more collaboration between corporates and SME's going forward. So, the kinds of experience Gavin describes will be a huge asset. Report details, the digital skills required teach level of the finance function noting that digital literacy is essential to future roles. But to lead is actually embracing this change. We ask the panel for their views. Francis explained how BP Taylor Data Literacy training for leaders are do agree everybody needs a certain level of digital literacy. But let me just give you an example based on the boot camp example earlier. So the same company who run that data incubator. SEPARATE LEARNING OFF FA leaders set school and dishonesty leaders so we. Target people who lead organizations, where lots of the dates come, and it's about how do they support those individuals? How do they understand enough about possible projects to understand which the ones that have really got legs and they should really invest in. So it is different data scientists a bit like accountants have their own language which we need to learn if we are to communicate effectively. Another challenge is convincing all levels of the organization to embrace these new digital ways of working. Not, to expect the the younger more junior generation, the ones that are going to be more hands on and really embracing this change. But. The problem will be unless that is reciprocated at the top of our the people that really have the books. If you really have the influence, it will get stuck I. Think it's fair to say that we've all been through lots of change since its panel session recorded in February. So, hopefully, the remote working experience will have had some impact on those leads. Three practitioners. Tunnel. In one sentence. What advice would you give someone starting in finance today? To start with you fronts. So think work hard and actually really important because you've got to get known. For being good at what you do I think bi-strategic. So kind of understand what it is actually dry Yuzu. And then aim for roles way, you can do those things because it's really not hard to motivate yourself when you're doing something that you love to do or at least that you love you love to do for the majority of the time. It's a nightmare to motivate yourself if you're in a row where actually got no passion for it, what called Bay, strategic and find something you're passionate about. Stuff. I think to be very clear about the purpose of finance function in a business and how can you be increasingly purposeful? In Euro Kelly. Be Curious. Curious to two levels. One to make sure that everything you're putting in front of somebody actually ends up and make sense and applying sound good old fashioned. Chairman's arithmetic to what you're presenting, but also to be curious. To wonder. What's happening outside of Your Business? What can you learn? These ten minutes on the train when you might be. Browsing on Google other pages. Always thinking, it could be done differently. And, if a finance professional can bring that to the workplace, I think it makes a huge difference. That's it. For today from our panel session ends up in. Sit. Down like the report learn more about our research into the human elements of finance transformation heads to insights, dot. CG. DOT Walk Forward. Slash story for slash finance hyphen transformation, or just follow the link in the show notes. You can view these show nights really easily. Just click on this episodes INFO icon in the PODCAST APP on your smartphone or open the episode in your computers Web Browser. You'll find everything right that there were two other websites I'd recommend, which will help you stay ahead of the curve, we have a CPA store dot com forward slash go beyond disruption on what Cj may store dot com forward slash disruption. They're all kinds of free and paid for resources to help develop the skills that you and your teams will need for the future. Thank you for listening today. If you've enjoyed this episode, please share it with others from a CPI ENCIMA office in London I'm Rebecca McCaffrey. 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