To respond to this question we need to analyse what happened in the last 10 years and how the finance function is evolving to respond to new needs. .
There has been a radical transformation in the finance function turning the CFO from a passive professional into an active holistic advisor. In the past the results were provided with a focus on retrospective company performance. Now finance is the analytical hub looking to provide insight about the future, supporting the decision makers and becoming a crucial strategic partner to the business.
The role of the accountant in the past has been to manage the numbers in detail and to provide an overview on the results. Now, through the increasing use of BI systems and real-time analysis, we have literally turned the numbers vision and the information management upside down, as you start with analyzing the big picture and then you go into detail.
Recent volatility in the global markets over the last 10 years has led to many organizations adopting a restructuring policy and as a result, there has been greater attention on streamlining the performances of those resources that survived post restructuring. Therefore the climate of the global crisis has given rise to a different working style which now seems to be more focused on limiting losses rather than increasing investments. This has bought the finance function to manage the contingency rather than the business growth. In addition to that vision there is the necessity to deal with adventurous and daredevil spirit the modernization and the pervasive technological development. This calls for a different set of skills in response to the new needs, to the lack of resources and by approaching different tools.
Building a collaborative business model through mobile friendly technologies. Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud have changed the way we work, the way we interact with customers, and also internal communication within companies. Therefore finance can provide guidance to create a modern corporate communication platform in synergy with IT. We need to share business insights and real time analysis by involving all the functions. The aim is to provide a finance technology which promotes collaboration, supports the use of mobile and of all other devices and which can track and elaborate a big quantity of data in order to provide insights through predictive analytics.
If you are flexible and curious and you want to enable your company to be a ‘technological enterprise’ and by doing so create a competitive advantage, then you need to contribute to shape this new business model. This means that the finance function is moving its professional DNA from a historical looking and book-keeping approach to a more collaborative & co-creative resource.
Changing the Finance function objective. Considering the actual climate of market volatility and lack of liquidity the modern finance professional needs to evolve from a back-office profile to a front-end skilled resource in order to contribute keeping sustainable and effective actions defined in the business plan.
Improving soft skills shifting from a technical administrative role to a “marketing finance professional”, learning how to effectively communicate and how to convert figures, analysis and guidelines into people engagement. Being closer to your colleagues helps you to establish a more effective communication with them. It means understanding their needs and their difficulties and adjusting your communication approach and content accordingly. This not only builds a key partnership leading to better and faster results but allows the organization to better align business focus between the functions and thus ensuring that each function is working towards a common goal.
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