Transforming Your Finance Team: 3 Strategies for Skill Enhancement
Finance professionals can do so much more than back-office number-crunching—if you let them. A capable CFO and financial team can keep your business moving forward and meeting its goals through functions such as ideating how to grow the business, balancing risk management, and delivering deeper financial insights to optimize C-suite decision-making.
In other words, employees in financial departments have moved well beyond traditional roles and have become value creators in their own right. Digitalization in finance has allowed for opportunities to enhance the role. In fact, CFOs treated as value drivers (instead of financial stewards) are more likely to exceed performance goals. But to succeed in these more strategic positions, your finance players need to have the time, resources, and—more than anything else—routine upskilling to elevate their positions out of basic stewardship.
Does training your financial team honestly make a difference in terms of your corporate growth? McKinsey research says it does—and it has a greater impact than other technological transformation strategies. Its surveyed companies most often reported a significant impact on increasing revenue streams and reducing costs, all by focusing on attracting, retaining, and upskilling their talent to culture digital and engineering skills.
Furthermore, taking a conservative approach to upskilling digital capabilities will ultimately leave you behind your competitors. The same study saw minor digitalization in finance creating less growth, whereas robust upgrades to workflow processes correlated with effective scaling. Successfully implementing such technology requires regular education throughout your company—especially for your CFOs, who will drive value through these finance-related digital transformations.
The good news is that financial workers are on board with the idea of working with new systems and upskilling. Nearly 4 in 10 told Gartner finance digital transformation benefited their roles. However, you can’t expect to harness the benefits of data-driven technology without equipping employees with the technical skills finance professionals need to digest the data and generate actionable insights.
Prioritizing Finance Employee Development in Busy Workplaces
Without a doubt, it can be challenging for businesses to carve out time to upskill any busy team members. Nevertheless, it’s easier to make training a priority by implementing a few strategies:
1. Eliminate time-consuming manual tasks with finance automation.
Finance department workflows can become bogged down when people have to manually input or transfer data sets, leaving your team busy with low-level administrative tasks. Uncovering finance automation opportunities could improve your finance team’s efficiency and increase productivity without increasing team size.
It’s worth noting that this move toward streamlining repetitive financial department duties using AI-enhanced software has gained popularity since 2020. McKinsey reports 88% of finance executives have accelerated their use of automated systems, for instance. This aligns with senior finance leaders’ vision for the “future of finance” function: digital, data-driven, and managed by smaller teams.
2. Adopt a robust finance department tech stack.
Are your financial employees forced to work within legacy systems that might or might not integrate with each other or the other systems in your company? Free them from the constraints of older technology by installing up-to-date alternatives.
Don’t hesitate to look for solutions that feature IoT capabilities. As noted in a piece by Entrance, IoT-connected devices and great tech stacks should improve productivity and optimize workflows. Linking your financial department’s systems throughout the rest of your company can provide finance employees with better real-time data visibility. This information—combined with what they learn during upskilling events—creates better-informed recommendations.
3. Elevate your finance department employees to financial strategists.
Part of expanding the role of your financial employees involves expanding their accessibility, responsibility, and authority. In addition to giving employees the time and tools they need to upskill within the finance department workflow, you should be ready to approach their roles differently.
For example, you or your CFO might be one of the 27% who told your company they expected to expand their corporate operations globally. This ambitious goal is more reasonable when finance workers are positioned and labeled as strategists. Giving your best people the ability to go beyond classic finance responsibilities will allow them to flex their muscles and put advanced skills into practice.
It’s time to think about your finance department in a different light. Allow them to help you meet your short-term and long-term goals by prioritizing their upskilling through finance and digital transformation. It might be the missing key to pushing your company into a stronger position.