July 19, 2024

Advancing Business Journey

Empowering Business Excellence

The ingredients for building the ideal modern finance and accounting team

3 min read

New research reveals a clear recipe for constructing a high-impact finance unit in today’s rapidly evolving business climate.

Global talent leader Robert Half uncovered valuable insights into the most sought-after roles, technical capabilities and soft skills that comprise effective modern finance teams.

While day-to-day responsibilities vary greatly across finance teams, all members require robust data fluency and communication skills to drive strategic impact.

Leading analysts, controllers and CFOs need to derive actionable, forward-looking intelligence from financial models, enterprise data stores, and business performance metrics. This requires synthesizing vast volumes of historical trends, current snapshots and long-range projections into meaningful conclusions.

Sharp analytical abilities are crucial to surface key takeaways and get beyond rear-view accounting mirrors. Building probabilistic models that forecast multiple performance scenarios provides vital readiness to pivot strategies based on market fluctuations.

Equally important is distilling these often complex financial insights into compelling communication that prompts action across the organization. Conveying the “so what” with clarity and vision is essential to influence executive leadership and departmental initiatives.

Achieving this strategic advisory role rests on the capabilities to translate numbers into narratives that contextualize performance issues, opportunities and recommended responses for diverse audiences. Tailoring messaging and visualizations accordingly ensures maximum resonance.

This collaboration with operations, sales, product groups and other commercial units also enables embedding financial analysis into real-world decision sequences rather than isolated calculations. Understanding interdependencies in driver-based models and resource allocations is key.

In Demand: Adaptability and Commercial Acumen

While technical expertise is crucial, soft skills enable finance talent to apply financial insights toward real-world impact.

Adaptability and creative problem-solving allow teams to rapidly adjust strategic recommendations in response to market fluctuations. Rather than static reporting of historical trends, finance leaders provide actionable guidance to pivot tactics when conditions shift.

Building probabilistic models that sensitizes performance forecasts to multiple scenarios is vital. This stress testing and contingency planning equips executives to make decisive moves amid uncertainty.

Equally important is continually optimizing resource planning models as new opportunities emerge and priorities change. Mapping financial, technology and human capital needs to evolving corporate objectives keeps allocation aligned with growth.

Underlying this nimbleness is keen comprehension of cash flow nuances, long-range projections, and market trends that shape strategies. A tight grasp of cost/revenue lead measures informs rollout sequencing and investment payback horizons.

Likewise, understanding value chain interdependencies and customer conversion funnels enables enhancing processes for maximum financial return. Identifying creative solutions to bottlenecks unlocks latent potential.

Ultimately, finance groups who think critically about market landscape, operational dynamics and corporate lifecycles can evaluate risks and spot strategic openings with clarity.

Pairing commercial acumen with financial analysis influences both executive decisions and cross-departmental initiatives by providing fact-based cases to enter new markets, fund promising pilots, or optimize underperforming areas.

Emerging Needs: Specialized Modelling, Auditing & Planning

While mastery of core finance skills forms a strong foundation, targeted specializations help talent fill pressing needs.

The research revealed organizations continue facing the greatest talent shortages in high-demand areas like:

  • Financial Modeling: Building models to analyze performance, forecast scenarios and optimize resource allocation.
  • Internal Auditing: Assessing financial health, ensuring compliance, and providing recommendations to strengthen internal controls.
  • Tax Strategy: Guiding effective tax planning initiatives to sustain bottom line results.
  • Payroll Management: Leading payroll processing, compliance and vendor management.
  • Data Analytics: Deriving actionable business intelligence from data to drive innovation.
  • Business Intelligence: Tracking KPIs and identifying trends to detect risks and growth opportunities.
  • Digital Transformation: Using technology to enhance finance and accounting productivity.

By developing specific competencies in these areas, finance professionals become force multipliers for organisational success.

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