Years ago, emerging technologies and digital transformation were disrupting the world as we knew it. Today, the pandemic has reinforced and accelerated these forces, rapidly reshaping what it means to run a successful financial organization.
A new report from Deloitte looks to the year 2025 — sharing predictions about the future of finance. It revisits a 2018 article on the same subject, recalibrating each prediction given the immense change we are currently witnessing. Of the trends explored throughout the report, perhaps the most important is talent, as talent strategy has transformed faster than anything else.
As organizations around the world sent their employees to work from home, CFOs discovered new ways of working that streamline processes and strengthen strategic thinking to improve business results. While we expect a “return to work” in some form soon, operations will no longer look like they once did. CFOs looking to forge a more effective and efficient finance organization should take stock of these lessons learned.
Capitalize on new operational models
Finance leaders have traditionally focused on cost reduction as the primary motivator for operational change. While cost remains crucial for decision-making, leaders should be aware of other opportunities and factors to improve their operating models. Successful organizations will be set up to accommodate and capitalize on hybrid work models.
Remote work has proven its value during the pandemic. Not only does it offer significant cost savings through a dispersed workforce, remote work also balances employee demand for flexibility while opening up opportunities for innovation. For example, closing books entirely remotely was never considered a possibility in the pre-pandemic landscape. Now, that’s not only possible; it becomes the norm. Collaborative technologies and virtual workplaces have also generated greater potential around off-cycle reporting and self-service.
CFOs looking to deliver new value and drive tangible business results will benefit from these hybrid operating models, with a focus on end-to-end processes, on-demand offerings, and business improvement. coordination among their staff.
Tap into the global talent pool
New expanded operating models are creating needs within the workforce. In a tough talent market where seemingly every function, every line of business and every industry is competing for the best talent, CFOs faced with this dilemma must ask themselves: how can I access more talent in more places? locations with different delivery methods to fill my team’s gaps?
With the wider acceptance of hybrid working, it’s likely that other modes of delivery, including contractors, freelancers, and gig workers, could fill the gaps for many finance teams. We’re in an increasingly tight talent market, not just in the United States, but around the world. Hybrid and remote models allow finance organizations to access global talent pools and specialized resources they may not have had before.
Hire for new roles and skills
Savvy and efficient financial services will also expand the roles and skills they hire for. Many executives recognize a broader shift in needs and capabilities as CFOs become more embedded within the C-suite, armed with better financial insights and broader strategic thinking. This change depends on technologies such as artificial intelligence and predictive analytics and is fueled by talent with expertise in these areas.
Keeping transactions and information flowing within the finance organization means reducing reliance on the IT function.
Keeping transactions and information flowing within the finance organization means reducing reliance on the IT function. We are seeing various departments begin to hire data scientists for their own purposes, and this is a critical pivot that finance leaders will need to make to take advantage of new digital tools. While traditional financial skills remain essential, those who are digitally savvy will be in high demand. Finance managers can encourage rotations and other development programs for the existing workforce.
CFOs should also seek to acquire people with business acumen to strengthen the finance organization – analyzing huge swaths of financial data to make sound and impactful decisions while always keeping in mind key strategic priorities. of the company. Going forward, finance professionals will play a greater role in shaping strategy and therefore need to have a more comprehensive understanding of potential opportunities and risks.
The world continues to rethink what work looks like – and the same is true for CFOs and the workforce that supports them. There are significant opportunities to improve performance and rethink what finance talent can do, and leaders must seek to make these changes or be left behind.
Mike Danitz is practice director of finance and corporate performance at Deloitte Consulting, LLP.
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