Finance managers are responsible for looking after two main areas. First one is about looking after the cash flow forecast for a business, working closely with the treasury and kind of how much money they have in their bank accounts basically. The second one is about looking after the reporting side, consolidating their brand performance and looking at how the business as a whole is performing.
What Skills do Today’s Finance Professionals Need to Succeed?
First of all, finance professionals need to be analytically curious people. Today’s businesses need the people that are engaged in trying to understand things at a systemic level, understand how parts work together, and how policy and procedures drive the results of that. Businesses want those finance managers who are great at market research and understanding the customers. They should know the answers to the questions like “why does a customer buy from you?” or “what is the real essence of your business?” That they need to be able to understand through a lot of things with surveys and analysis.
Finance managers need to have great communication skills. End of the day, it doesn’t do any good if you can’t really find ways to communicate it. The most important thing is that they need to be change-ready. By that, what we mean to say here is that today’s finance managers need to be very adaptable. They need to have the ability to operate in different environments. And, the more change-ready they are, the better. That’s the reason businesses find a lot of encouragement in the kind of new generation. They have been bombarded with so many changes that they come with an almost change-ready attitude. And, the challenge is how they capture that whole lot of things around them, so as they grow, they don’t ossify into a rigid way.
Understanding of predictable analytics is important for today’s finance managers. Not only does it enable them to conduct planning and budgeting activities, it also helps them in knowing what is the data telling them and what kind of insights can be mined from that data. Furthermore, it can also enable them to forecast in a more intelligent way using a lot more of those leading indicators. The problem with the traditional finance function is they rely on financial indicators which by definition are lagging indicators. So, new persons coming to the finance management should have the ability to tune into what are the leading indicators or drivers of values so they can start to predict values that are much more accurate within acceptable ranges.
The next skill that today’s finance managers need to have is a good, in-depth understanding of the core operations of their company. It’s more than operations in finance, unlike the traditional finance managers reporting aspects of finance. For example, if they belong to a biopharmaceutical company and spend time in the business unit in research and development or new product development or sales and marketing for that matter and support the field organization when they rotate back into the corporate finance functions. That would require much more skills in terms of understanding the core operations of a business.
Finance managers need to focus on the finance accounting gap, basically transactions. So, they look beyond finance and start being able to support the business unit. That being said, we mean to say that today’s finance managers need to start getting more leadership skills over the soft skills. They need to have the ability to effectively communicate, educate, and train other managers and enable them to understand what they understand and then help them to understand how their business actually operates and how it’s modeled upon.
Skills relating to leadership, communication, technical modeling, understanding data, and how information flows help finance managers stay ahead of the curve.
At Promise Training & Consultancy, we provide finance resource and skills management and development training that can help finance professionals to hone the industry requirements and excel in their professional side.