RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Finance needs employees with a variety of skills, from data visualization to flexible thinking, as finance responsibilities continue to stretch.
  • CFO and other senior finance executives have gained new skills, leading to a knowledge gap with junior finance professionals that must be bridged.
  • Finance will become a place where many talented professionals will aspire to work, as it continues to be the function that enables the future.


CFOs have the rare opportunity to evolve their organizational role and forge a new path for future finance talent. As finance’s responsibilities continue to stretch, so too must the skills and knowledge of CFOs and prospective employees. Today, CFOs require teams with a wider range of capabilities, from data visualization to flexible thinking.

So far, senior finance executives have acquired skills at a faster rate than the department at large. This has created knowledge gaps in the organizational hierarchy that are only widening with the pace of disruption.

It is not technology or data that is limiting the speed of transformation within finance—it is a lack of people who possess the necessary data analysis and technology skills.

Forecasting the future of finance

Future finance executives must be able to innovate and analyze while recognizing how important they are to enabling strategy. They’ll also need to communicate with the rest of the enterprise and work together to drive action out of data-driven insights. This will require an exceptional ability to not only communicate but also collaborate.

"The CFO still needs to be somebody that you can trust to cut through all the bias and be the honest broker in decision-making. What is different now is that even in financial areas, you have to be IT-savvy."

– LARRY REINHOLD, Systemax

Here’s the good news: CFOs are very optimistic about the future of talent in finance. More than 80 percent agree that future work will be more valued and more meaningful. This means finance professionals will be encouraged to develop their own skills and will have a clear route to career progression. In doing so, CFOs will shepherd in the cultural shift towards a more insights-driven organization.

77%

of CFOs say that there has never been a more exciting time to be a finance executive.

Voices of tomorrow

Employees are energized by what lies ahead through digital transformation: automation of dull and mundane tasks, richer and more timely data sets, access to sophisticated analytic models and deployment of advanced visualization tools. Combined, these elements stand to make finance one of the most exciting and value-adding places to work in the enterprise.

There will be plenty of chances for finance employees to grow and build skill sets in this new environment, where the boundaries between finance and the rest of the organization blur for the sake of collaboration. As finance solidifies itself as the function that is actively enabling the future, it will likely be a place in which many more talented professionals aspire to work.



About the Authors

Steve Culp

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Enterprise Value, Finance and Risk


Dr. Christian Campagna

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, CFO and Enterprise Value


David Axson

Senior Strategy Executive Principal – Accenture CFO Strategies and CFO and Enterprise Value


Haralds Robeznieks

Senior Principal – Accenture Research

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