In a world of constant change, many organisations are trying to anticipate an uncertain future and so it’s harder than ever for finance professionals to maintain the resilience that is required and increasingly expected.
In the fast-paced and challenging environments of today, it is no longer enough for accounting and finance leaders to have specific technical capabilities, knowledge and experience to be proficient and effective in their role.
Companies expect their finance managers of the future to be both adept at change as well as leading the way for their teams.
Over the last few years, there have been a wealth of studies and white papers reporting on how finance functions and professionals have had to change to keep ahead. There are a number of reasons why the shape of finance is changing; with no surprise that technology, Artificial Intelligence and data management is at the top of the list. However, it’s becoming more prevalent for financial leaders of tomorrow to be strong communicators with the ability to collaborate, influence and manage change.
In a recent Financial Times article, Global Head of Clients and Markets at KPMG, Isabelle Allen, highlighted how there is an increasing focus on soft skills within the accounting and finance sector: “We need people who thrive on change and are committed to life-long learning, people who are inquisitive and comfortable with ambiguity – who can exercise judgement on issues and solve problems that didn’t exist two years ago.”
Finance today is so much more than number crunching, keeping records and analysing data and the age of the ‘pure technical specialist’ is over. Organisations need to empower their finance professionals and equip them with the soft skills and growth mindset to be prepared and to lead their people through future changes.
Remember, it is often the case that the CFOs of today are the CEOs of tomorrow.
3 key soft skills every accounting and finance leader should develop
- Communication – Both verbal and written. You need to not only be able to tell the story behind the numbers to non-finance professionals in a way they can understand, but also engage and motivate your team so they develop with the business and industry.
- Influence and persuasion – Not to make everyone believe you are right all of the time, but by building a rapport and trust with clients and colleagues you can advise them on the best solutions. Be prepared to analyse and deal with potential objections as well as provide an explanation for your recommendations.
- Solution-oriented – Your analytical and problem-solving skills must go further than numerical. You have to be a critical thinker who will combine objective analysis with subjective opinions to help the business achieve its goals.
Author: Chris Mooney, Director and Learning & Development Consultant, Chris Mooney Training Ltd
Chris Mooney of CM Learning provides online mindset development that is immersive and engaging. With a healthy mindset, wellbeing and resilience is enhanced. Relationships become stronger and individual, team and organisational results increase. Get in touch at [email protected] or 07810 407374.