The role finance teams are expected to play within businesses is evolving. While in the past these teams were expected to fill a purely technical role, employers are now looking for finance professionals who can go beyond this and provide strategic insight to the rest of the business, helping the company ensure long term financial stability.
This means that finance directors are looking for new qualities in the staff they recruit onto their teams; skills that will ensure that they can deliver on the new responsibilities of the finance function.
Strong technical skills are still vital, but employers also want staff who are excellent communicators and who have the ability to effectively manage key stakeholders within the business.
The latest Robert Walters Whitepaper – Bridging the Skills Gap in Finance Functions explores which skills finance managers are most keen to bring into their finance teams and the strategies available to obtain these skills or develop them within their teams.
Based on a survey of over 300 CFOs, the results showed that 61% of senior finance managers had struggled to source candidates from traditional talent pools.
“Traditionally finance managers have focused on sourcing professionals with strong technical skills,” said Nic Sephton-Poultney, Managing Director at Robert Walters.
“As a result, the strategies for recruitment they use are very effective at securing professionals with these strengths, but may be poorly designed to determine whether candidates have the ‘soft skills’ that are needed to thrive as strategic business partners.” It is clear that CFOs are keen to develop their finance functions to reflect new demands placed on them by the business
Key skills in demand
Just 39% of senior finance managers said that their teams had the necessary skills to work as effective partners within the business.
They also identified commercial aptitude as the skill they most needed to develop within their teams (60%) followed by the ability to persuade and influence colleagues (48%) and stakeholder management skills (39%).
“Whether it’s by training existing staff or sourcing new professionals who can bring these skills into the team, it is clear that CFOs are keen to develop their finance functions to reflect the new demands placed on them by the business,” added Nic.