Over the last 10-15 years, we have all seen the traditional corporate structure evolve, where more efficient and effective structures aimed at delivering higher quality services, more efficiently and with a lower financial impact have been developing. This has in large seen an increase in profitability and a gain in market share for organisations that are able to respond to changing market forces through their agility and ability to funnel resources to respond.
With a number of functions in organisations viewed as overheads, the natural and obvious opportunities to make these reductions sit within these “back office” areas, which obviously includes Accounting and Finance, with a particular focus on Finance functions. Traditional finance roles are under threat due to technology and automation, improved ERP systems allowing us to do more with less and generally expecting a greater output from the existing teams. Over the last few years we have been seeing what amounts to extreme thinning across a number of areas with the objective of achieving the organisational financial and structural goals.
However, Accounting and Finance professionals are the corporate chameleons! With technology advancements, we are seeing a number of financially-focused roles evolve to meet the growing needs of modern progressive organisations. Technology has enabled organisations to respond to their customers more effectively and efficiently. With these changes, we have seen financial roles emerge and Finance professionals evolve to help balance the structural scale. These roles are focused on reducing costs, improving service levels, and producing high quality financial and non-financial data. This means we are now looking for communicators and story tellers and financial artists that can paint a picture with numbers. These are the individuals who can make sense of the data and provide the business with operational and strategic options.
The challenge in the market? This is not a traditional skill set that automatically has transferability from the 80’s and 90’s or even the noughties. Some individuals have been able to change their communication style to meet modern demands, others have found it more of a challenge.
The good news? The Accounting and Finance fraternity has responded well, there is an emerging talent pool of candidates who now see a new career path, allowing them to be visionaries in the organisation and shifting the perception from being an “overhead” to adding real organisational value.
These individuals know how to embrace technology, taking it from being a threat and using it to their advantage. They provide the commercial link between technology and the business, acting as the conduit. They try to be clairvoyants and understand what the future challenges might look like and provide multiple options and paths to travel. They are corporate Business Partners who support your heavy hitters providing decision support and financial guidance, together creating a formidable team.
Whilst this talent pool is still emerging, it is growing, and we are seeing commercially focused individuals crossing codes into Finance from other organisational areas such as Marketing and Technology, enabling a cross functional skill-set that can add value and provide meaningful information across the business.
Great commercially-focused financial individuals have grown from being the corporate Chameleon into the corporate Super Hero!! If you’d like advice on how you can adjust your skill set to take advantage of the changing Accounting and Finance function or are keen to explore new opportunities please feel free to get in touch for a confidential discussion.