finance
monthly
Personal Finance. Money. Investing.
Contribute
Premium
Awards

Most people prefer online learning systems as they offer the best opportunity to learn from their comfort level. Education technology is not restricted only to academics and student-level courses.

Various business institutes have also started their studies on online platforms. There are many useful websites and a Microsoft learning portal that provide different types of business courses. These sites have a more straightforward process. The user has to first register over the website, select the course, study the material, give the exam, and the virtual authorized certificate is provided to the candidates.

The main benefits of using online learning courses for the corporate finance business are as follows:

Cost and Time Saving

Physical institutes offer full-time courses for young entrepreneurs, but not everyone can keep aside their office workings to excel in the skills. Plus, the institutes charge massive certificate course fees as the operating cost of the physical institutes are higher. That is why most applicants prefer to register for online courses. There is no restriction for the completion and timing of the course. One can complete the classes according to their schedules. Many of the online courses are free, and many websites offer hefty discounts on the completion of the course. It reduces the overall cost of the course completion.

Learn Operational Financing

No business organisation can perform well without an efficient system for operating its finances. It is a global business demand that businesspeople must learn financing skills. All public, private, and non-profit organisations require the management of finances.

Global companies like to collaborate with individuals who are certified with business courses. Useful online websites have a top-quality study material. The teaching standards and the learning curriculum are high as compared to physical institutes. The best faculties are hired to record the lectures. Review sections, FAQs, accessible definitions, word meanings, recap features, quizzes, test series, etc., offer the best online learning experience.

[ymal]

Improves Business Performance

Poor business and financing skills can lead to losses to a business. The upgrading of business skills is important to sustain the businesses in the competition. This is why online learning courses are considered effective. The one-to-one experience increases the concentration power of the listener and reader. The peaceful online environment increases the learning speed. The facility to save the lectures on the offline mode help in saving listening time. People can enjoy listening to videos while traveling or during free-time.

Online learning is offering people a continuous learning facility. Whether you want to upgrade your business skills, financial skills, or just want to read about the latest trends in the market, online websites are the fastest means of communicating the latest information. As more and more activities have been shifted to the virtual world, it is time to move our learning systems on the internet. Online courses can be a motivation for the young workforce to upgrade their skills while working in the corporates. Different levels of courses are available for different types of people. Select the beginners, medium, and advanced classes accordingly to learn new skills.

Automation technologies, in particular, are overhauling the way people work by taking over more routine administrative tasks and therefore reducing the amount of back office work needing to be done by individuals.

This is leading to an evolution of the role of the modern-day finance professional – primarily that of the CFO – and here Marieke Saeij, CEO at Onguard, presents finance Monthly with some of the key changes we should expect to see.

The need to develop new skills

As automation technology becomes more prominent in the financial sector, CFOs will be able to dedicate more time to bigger picture issues, such as where they can create business efficiencies, and focus on how else to add value to their organisation. As a result, they will be required to develop new skills, such as analytics, communications and programming. This will ensure they have the knowledge and ability to interpret and analyse data collated within their credit management system, for example, and turn these insights into actions. CFOs should also look to create new KPIs to ensure they are continuing to get the most of their operations and focus more on managing financial processes, rather than carrying them out.

As CFOs spend less time on the monotonous day-to-day tasks, they will also be able to look more closely at customisation and ensure they understand and deliver each customer’s preferred communication channels and payment methods for their invoices. This will allow the business to interact with customers in the way they prefer to increase the chances of invoices being paid on time and to strengthen existing relationships.

Developing new strategies

The use of big data in predictive analytics is providing CFOs with key insights on a wide range of issues, which can be used to drive better commercial decisions and inform decision-making processes. This will enable them to add strategic value by being proactive, rather than reactive, as they can use information from the past to predict the future. For instance, predictive analysis may show that a certain customer has paid his invoices on average within 28 days for the past seven years. This means it is highly likely he will also do the same when he receives the next invoice. CFOs can then use this information to decide how they interact with this customer, chasing for payment only after that time period has elapsed.

The introduction of real-time finance cycles could also change the way CFOs operate as they will no longer be using outdated figures and basing important decisions on potentially inaccurate information. With real-time finance cycles, CFOs will be able to work with the most up-to-date information and be reassured that they are making business decisions with the latest available data. This will allow them to see where possible adjustments need to be made and take action immediately.

[ymal]

Cross-department collaboration

Often, the siloed nature of large companies inhibits the efficiency of a CFO as it means they have a lack of visibility and are not always privy to important information. With more time available to them, CFOs could collaborate with other departments within the company to ensure the organisation gets the most from all of its financial operations. This will help every department to have a better understanding of what other departments are working on, how this may impact them and the financial processes involved. This will stimulate greater openness and understanding between teams and could improve the business’ credit management processes.

The modern-day CFO will be substantially different from the traditional view of the role. However, this is a fundamentally positive thing. Thanks to increased use of more advanced technology, CFOs will be able to move away from the more mundane day-to-day financial tasks needed to keep a business ticking over and take on a more strategic, diverse and value-adding role.

John Forword, Reed Finance expert, says finance companies need to match the career aspirations and values of a generation which knows what it wants from prospective employers.

For some firms, this already means investing in organisational change in order to compete for and secure the employees they will need for a stronger commercial future.

Generation Z – those born from 1995 onwards - offer a unique and prized set of skills and aspirations. The combination of being tech-savvy, entrepreneurial in outlook and collaborative by nature in order to co-create, are some of the key characteristics that separate Gen Z from previous generations.

And finance companies want what they offer.

But in the face of increasing competition to attract the very best talent from a pool that is in demand, the need for finance industry employers to take a holistic look at their cultures and structure to ensure they chime with what Generation Z is looking for becomes increasingly pressing.

In the face of increasing competition to attract the very best talent from a pool that is in demand, the need for finance industry employers to take a holistic look at their cultures and structure to ensure they chime with what Generation Z is looking for becomes increasingly pressing.

For many companies, these changes are well underway with some businesses already looking to leave others behind in the race for Generation Z. Reed Finance recently conducted an in-depth survey of 500 senior finance professionals to see what companies were doing to attract this generation to help companies not only keep up but get ahead in the race to capture Generation Z talent.

  1. Initial changes being made by firms include the redefinition of existing training, development and succession models, which 36% of companies questioned said they were undertaking. 
  2. A third of firms are already looking at broadening workplace technology and systems deployment, and a quarter admitted that they were striving to develop more collaborative working environments. 
  3. In recognition of the need to reshape reward and remuneration models to more accurately match the demands of a new, aspirational workforce, 22% said this process was currently underway within their organisations.
  4. Companies have also been working hard to develop more collaborative working environments, with 25% saying they had already put plans to achieve this into action.
  5. The majority of employers (60%) said they believed that their company is not doing enough to adapt in many areas and entice talent from Generation Z.

In short, employers know that this generation is completely different from what came before and they are making changes but there are key opportunities for attracting the next generation.

  1. Potential recruits will be judging organisations on a number of criteria to determine if the firm is the right one for them in terms of opportunity, development, job satisfaction and enjoyment. So companies must demonstrate these in clear, progression lines.
  2. Aside from the actions already undertaken by companies, it is clear, from a number of studies that Generation Z seeks out greater flexibility in the workplace when compared to predecessors. If flexibility is on the table then it will make a major difference.
  3. Technology and the opportunity to work with developing and innovative advances in tech is also near the top of the priority list, alongside the demand for a transparent and achievable career progression vision. 

[ymal]

In order to succeed in attracting the next generation, companies must be clear about creating the right type of workplace scenarios and addressing the critical areas outlined above. They must also recognise the personality characteristics that drive the ambition and vision of Generation Z talent.

This next-generation has a fearlessness and confidence to articulate what they want and are happy to demand it from prospective employers. They want to work for a firm that matches their desire to progress and develop, as well as operate by shared values. If they do not find it, they are likely to vote with their feet and look elsewhere.

But making these changes isn’t easy. Nearly a quarter admitted that redefining training, development and succession models would be the most difficult to achieve, followed closely by the task of altering reward and remuneration practices and creating more collaborative working environments.

However, the message is clear. If you want to attract the best Generation Z talent, finance organisations need to be mindful of the need to provide flexible working conditions, more imaginative rewards and remuneration structures, cutting edge technology, proven career progression opportunity and invest in developing and sustaining collaborative and sociable workplace environments.

Companies that ignore the working demands of Generation Z will end up losing them to rivals.

Amy Parkinson, Principal in the Financial Leadership Practice at executive search firm Berwick Partners, considers the current landscape for women in finance, and whether the gender gap is a challenge or an opportunity.

Workplace for women

The opportunity for women in finance to reach top roles does exist, and the good news is that the workplace for women is changing, with greater flexibility around maternity and paternity leave certainly helping. The internal focus of businesses to identify and support talented women is also a contributor, as organisations take seriously their commitment to diversity, and recognise that women on boards add valuable perspectives at a senior level.

Whilst there are many women in finance, there are simply not enough at board level.

We see many male leaders reflecting on their unconscious bias and behaviours which may in the past have inadvertently discouraged women from reaching their full potential. This shows they can be women’s biggest allies in reducing the gender gap in finance.

Increasingly, we see evidence of promising female finance leaders coming through from a wide cross-section of academic disciplines, inspired by initiatives such as STEM Learning, which has encouraged young women to pursue education in maths, tech, engineering and the sciences. Graduates in these areas are well-positioned to later secure roles in accountancy practices, the finance industry, or in financial leadership, because of their strong numerical and analytical bias. This is helping the next generation of women to enter the workplace equipped with the skills to make it to the top.

Uaetechnician is one of the best Data recovery, home appliance, mobile, Laptop & Washing Machine Repair service provider in UAE.

Financial leadership is certainly in-step with the rise in the number of women at the top - in 2018, 44% of the senior finance appointments we made were of women. This would have been closer to 30% five years ago. However, it still remains that whilst there are many women in finance, there are simply not enough at board level.

Since 1998, The Female FTSE Board Report[1] produced annually by Cranfield University’s School of Management has monitored trends in women’s representation on FTSE 350 boards. According to the 2019 Report, there are 339 female held directorships across the FTSE 100 corporate boards. The percentage of women on those boards has increased from 29% one year ago to 32.1%, so it is a positive step in the right direction.

The report also identifies some finance specific insights:

Certainly, this is evidence of the value of financial qualifications to a strong career path to the top, but many boards are still not adjusting company culture to encourage women to pursue executive careers.

[ymal]

Shifting skills base

Financial leadership roles have evolved from the more straightforward financial record keeper to a business leader with exceptional financial intelligence, and proven skills across commercial, strategic, operational and leadership competencies. As well as financial skills, it’s important to develop a broad base of ‘soft’ skills to offer credible advice.

Stepping stones

Various studies into the numbers, or lack of, women in senior finance positions, suggest various reasons for the slow progress for women in finance, including investor concerns that women lack City experience.

Efficient career planning can and does make a difference to turning the challenge of diversity into an opportunity. Taking time to invest in identifying the roles key to creating a solid career path is invaluable.

In particular, roles employers look for on a CV are Divisional Finance Director and Group Financial Controller. These give the opportunity to develop relationships with key career influencers and prove strategic expertise with a panoramic view of internal and external issues.

The Group Financial Controller (GFC) role provides exposure to the key influencers in their future career – the board, investors, auditors, brokers and banks. It also demands solid relationship-building with a highly valuable network, which will gain a reputation as a trusted financial steward in business. The role of GFC can be a real differentiator with its focus on the more strategic elements of a business and delivers the chance to impress and build credibility with stakeholders. Within a listed company, it is unlikely a CFO won’t have undertaken a GFC role at some point in their career.

Also valuable is a Divisional Financial Director role. This demonstrates capability to drive performance in a business. Being accountable to the Group demonstrates ability to build the all-important value for the shareholder, especially under close scrutiny and high pressure.

There are numerous examples of different career paths women have taken to the top of an organisation, and for female finance professionals, the role of CFO features often.

Frequently the confidant and ‘right hand’ to the CEO, a CFO not only needs the financial insight and analytical skills to challenge the business but is also expected to be curious, to ask the CEO questions about all areas of the business. Little surprise therefore that it follows that many CFOs go on to become CEOs.

Walk the talk

In a recent study ‘The Route to CFO’, we sought the opinions of sixty CFOs from a range of industries and backgrounds and asked them for their advice for aspiring CFOs. We found that the role of a CFO today is not just managing the finances, but also being a true business leader.

The CFOs we surveyed had built a broad base of skills to give them the knowledge to offer credible advice and challenge themselves with situations that give opportunity to demonstrate their value. Many gained international experience, and they all built relationships with the business and their teams to gain respect as a real leader.

CFOs also advocate seeking out opportunities to develop leadership skills. The days of a traditional ‘ivory towered’ FD are well and truly behind us. An effective leader has to be the trusted adviser who leads the executive and their own teams.

Growing knowledge and networks to support personal and professional development is paramount.

Seek support

Growing knowledge and networks to support personal and professional development is paramount. This is something we are actively striving to tackle by creating programmes designed to inspire, inform and encourage future leaders, specifically supporting aspiring CFOs and finance leaders to navigate the next step in their career.

The Emerging Leaders programme ‘matches’ high performing individuals aspiring to Executive Board level positions with mentors, and connects with a network of prominent business figures.

Opportunity

For women in finance taking a strategic approach to their career to the top, the gender gap is an opportunity worth tackling. Many organisations are serious about diverse leadership and are actively looking to correct the gender imbalance. Look to Oracle Corporation and its Chief Executive and CFO Safra Catz, and tobacco giant Imperial Brands’ Chief Executive Alison Cooper who began her career as an auditor at Deloitte and joined Imperial Tobacco as Group Finance Manager and was promoted two years later to Group Financial Controller. The number of women at the top of financial leadership may not yet be where it should be, but is on the up; I hope the 44% of senior finance appointments we made in 2018 being of women, hits 50% by 2020.

For more about Berwick Partners, visit: https://www.berwickpartners.co.uk/

[1] as of 5 June 2019; source: Female FTSE Index 2019.

More than half (58%) of UK banks are currently looking for greater in-house technology skills with 48% either recruiting extra skills or using partners to gain the skills they need, research commissioned by fintech provider Fraedom has found.

The report also revealed that more than one-third (38%) of banks say they are likely to invest in recruitment as a priority in order to find specific skills. Currently, banks most want to attract technology risk analysts (32%), data scientists (30%) and network specialists (24%) as they address their financial ecosystem.

Russell Bennett, CEO at Fraedom said: “We can see that there is a great opportunity for banks to partner with fintechs to uncover the skills they need and how best to attract them, whether that be by recruiting or upskilling existing employees. These partnerships would be particularly beneficial as, at present, 34% of banks feel they don’t have the expertise in-house to implement new technology. Fintechs can help banks gain a greater understanding of what technology they need which also will be instrumental in attracting new talent, especially as the younger generations progress in their careers and expect to have access to the latest technology.”

As banks have placed a greater emphasis on upskilling employees, Fraedom found that over the past five years, 60% of banks have improved in-house training courses, while 36% have implemented new external training schemes.

Looking to the future, to further develop skills in-house, 28% of banks are putting new internal training schemes in place and 20% plan to send staff on external training programmes.

“Banks are not just focusing on recruiting new talent to gain a broader range of skills but are also looking to retain their existing talent and provide the tools they need to grow with the pace of the technology. They can also partner with fintechs to harness the talent and experience they already have in the company to support their use of technology. To get the most from these activities, banks must prioritise creating the right culture which gives the freedom and flexibility that most employees in technical and development roles desire,” added Bennett. “Financial organisations across the sector are all competing to attract the best talent, so it’s vital they create points of differentiation within their culture so as to be the most attractive.”

(Source: Fraedom)

However, if you fail to spot the right candidates, your firm runs the risk of needlessly overspending and wasting resources across the searching and recruitment process.

To find top talent, Molly Evans, an administrator for StellarSelect.co.uk, suggests switching to these creative strategies:

1.       Interview first before relying on an algorithm

Companies make use of computers in candidate selection to remove bias from the equation. However, algorithms are not yet that sophisticated to gauge important human traits like influencing skills. Such limitations are probably why big companies like Amazon have temporarily suspended their online recruitment platform.  So consider interviewing some of the applicants before letting the algorithm eliminate them.

2.       Don’t limit the interview with questions

After selecting a group of potential candidates, your next step is probably to ask standard sets of questions. However, don’t stop there. Aside from asking them about their work experiences, you can ask them to demonstrate their skills.

For example, you can set a scenario where they have to advise clients about their mortgage needs. See what strategies and ideas they come up with on how to meet the client’s needs. Such an assessment can tell you right away if they will be a valuable asset for your company.

3.       Consider the talents working for you in the long term

Hiring the best talents is hard, but retaining them is harder. Many top performers are aware of their skills and abilities. Keep in mind that high salaries are not enough to keep them. Instead, you can give them:

Also draw attention to their current role’s importance and status, as well as possible promotions or greater responsibilities for staying with your company.

4.       Pick people who are willing to learn

Changes in an organisation’s structure are inevitable. You’ll need people who are agile, excellent communicators, and willing to collaborate. You’ll also need people with a creative mindset who can innovate and adapt. You’ll need candidates that are:

You can learn these qualities by making your interview questions detailed and specific. For example, you can ask them how they would handle a lost account.

5.       Hire people from your community if possible

One of the best places to start looking for potential employees is within your community or industry. You can do this by reaching out through:

 

6.       Get thinkers not taskmasters

Successful candidates know how to delegate tasks. However, if you want your company to grow, you’ll need thinkers. They are the people who are always asking ‘why?’, pushing for quality and efficiency. If implemented correctly, they can change the company’s culture for the better. Consider encouraging and supporting these kinds of talents. You may have to adjust or change the old ways but this is a small price to pay for raising your company’s competitiveness.

7.       Get referrals

There are advantages to getting referrals both from within and outside your company. Your staff will usually refer you to top performing people rather than underperforming ones. Consider providing incentives to your current employees for their referrals. Outside the company, you can look for job candidates from financial recruiters like StellarSelect.co.uk.

8.       Develop talents for the job

Finding and hiring the best people isn’t cheap and could take time. So why not try to develop those talents within your company? Consider investing in your employees through training, coaching, seminars, and workshops. Also, don’t forget to give them continuous feedback to sharpen their abilities. By recruiting the best talents from within, you could boost loyalty and productivity in your company.

9.       Use trial periods

If it’s possible, you can ask potential employees to undergo trial periods first. Once they’ve passed, you can then choose to offer them full-time work. Trial periods are like internships except that the pay is better with more serious work responsibilities. You can run it for several weeks or months – just enough time to assess their performance.

For example, you can get the candidate to start by assisting or handling minor client accounts. During that time, you will be able to gauge their attitude and skills for the job. It’s also important to pay the candidates fairly to avoid any legal and moral complications.

Conclusion

CVs and algorithms are useful for providing a list of skills. However, to build a great team of talent, you need to ask more than routine questions. Use the interview to learn how they work based on their skills and capabilities. By doing so, you’ll know that you’ve found the right people. Remember also to cast your recruitment net wide to increase your opportunities for finding the best-skilled people. This means maintaining links with your industry and community and using incentivised candidate referrals. Follow all these strategies and you’ll be in the best position to encourage top talent to beat a path to your door.

Using Google and O*NET data from the past 10 years for typical finance roles, Reed Finance developed the interactive online tool on stateofskills.reedglobal.com. It found that written and verbal communication is prized by employers of finance professionals, with ‘oral comprehension’ (an understanding of what people are trying to say) and ‘written comprehension’ (understanding written ideas and information) ranked as the most valued skills. This is in comparison to traditionally assumed skills such as ‘economics and accounting’ and ‘deductive reasoning’ which are ranked as the fourth and 10th most important.

Reed Finance suggests that this is due to the future strategies of companies wishing to see finance executives take on leadership roles which entail not only technical soundness, but also an ability to inspire and work as a leader of teams – with ‘active listening’ and ‘oral comprehension’ some of the most important skills for a CFO to have.

Firms value ‘human skills’ such as communication over technical accounting skillset.

As such, ‘human’ skills are prominent in successful candidates for roles such as management accounting and FP&A management. This may suggest that these workers have the skillset to take upon more senior roles.

Securing the right talent

Reed Finance found that the level of interest from candidates for the majority of roles in accountancy and finance had been consistent over the past decade, but there are some notable exceptions.

Interest in CFOs peaked in April 2013, higher by 111% in comparison to January 2012. The trend is even starker for finance business partners. From only modest interest in October 2009 popularity has continued to increase rapidly over the decade hitting a peak in July 2018 that is almost 2500% higher. The stark rise reflects a change in the industry towards finance professionals with strong communication skills informing and guiding the business.

Interest in finance business partners has increased from near non-existence in October 2009 by 2333% to a peak in July 2018.

Rob Russell, director at Reed Finance, says: “Businesses are in direct competition for employees that can bring ‘human’ skills to the table, not just technical accounting and number crunching. The influx of AI in the workplace is helping to enhance the numerical skillsets within these teams, so there will be greater time for high-level creativity. Companies want candidates that can communicate, secure business wins and manage teams so that they perform to the best of their ability. These changes to a more fluid, creative workplace are creating great opportunities for those within the finance sector.”

Software use is essential to success but becomes less important with greater seniority

The research conducted also investigated the tools that must be mastered for success in these roles, encouraging businesses to upgrade their software where necessary.

Rob Russell continues: “Every day working with businesses we find that tech is there to enhance the performance of individuals. While candidates should endeavour to keep up with the latest accounting tools on the market, businesses are increasingly looking for those that can win new business and demonstrate a return on investment.

“For candidates, developing the ability to take complex finance information they deal with on a daily basis and using it to answer the question, ‘what does this mean for the business?’ will set them aside from colleagues. This, coupled with commercial nous, has always been an advantage, but now it seems it is even more sought after as business leaders search for the candidates that can secure the future of their business.”

(Source: www.reedglobal.com/finance)

With businesses embracing big data, new tech and digital media, the role of traditional CFO is evolving from financial expert to strategic partner, data analyst, talent curator and more. With the support of several data streams, James Booth, Chief Financial Officer at Instant Offices explains for Finance Monthly what this new era of the multidiscipline strategist means and how there is more potential than ever for CFOs to be the architects of change within business.

Five Factors Keeping CFOs Up at Night

  1. Brexit

Around 75% of CFOs worry Brexit could have a negative impact on business in the long-term, compared to just 9% who don’t, according to Deloitte. Along with Brexit risks, weak demand and the prospect of tighter monetary policies are ranked as the top worries for CFOs in 2018. Despite high levels of uncertainty across the board, research shows CFOs are still highly focused on growth plans, and the level of desire to expand business over the next year is at its highest since 2009.

  1. Skills Shortages

According to research, 44% of CFOs have reported recruitment difficulties and skills shortages in 2018. To add to the challenge, The Open University Business Barometer revealed a massive 91% of UK organisations say they have had difficulties hiring skilled employees in the last 12 months.

  1. Rising Stress Levels

78% of UK CFOs believe stress levels are set to rise in the next two years as workloads increase, business expectations grow, and companies face a lack of staff, according to Robert Half. Research also shows CFOs expect their finance teams’ workloads to increase, while 52% are planning to hire interim staff as a short-term solution.

  1. Big Data

Research firm IDC predicts that by 2025, we’ll see 163 trillion gigabytes of data output every year. And a recent study by Accenture suggests that by 2020, 90% of a CFO’s time and efforts will be spent on working with data scientists to turn data into actionable insights that organisations can use for strategic decision-making.

  1. Increased Cyber Security Threats

Studies from Verizon show that 59% of cybercriminals are motivated by financial gain and are likely to target finance and HR – areas which fall into the CFO realm – suggesting CFOs are going to be expected to take a proactive approach to cybersecurity.

Top Five CFO Priorities for the Upcoming Year

In Q2 of 2018, CFOs listed the following as strong priorities for business in the following 12 months:

  1. 49% say increasing cash flow is the top priority
  2. 47% say reducing costs
  3. 37% say introducing new products and services and expanding into new markets
  4. 18% say expanding by acquisition is a priority
  5. 14% say raising dividend or share buybacks

What Skills will CFOs Need by 2020?

The CFO Must Become a Leader of Innovation: New tech, including AI, will become a core part of the innovation strategy within businesses looking to remain competitive, and CFOs will be required to understand the opportunities presented by new tech to drive growth. By 2020, 48% of CFOs are set to be using AI to improve performance.

CFOs Must Embrace Big Data: According to a report by the ACCA and IMA, the CFO and finance team is set to be at the heart of the data revolution. In order to make sense of the large volumes of data the world will be generating by 2020, CFOs will need to be able to accurately interpret data to generate quality, actionable insights for CEOs and board-level decisions.

The CFO Must Manage Risk Under Scrutiny: As tech grows and presents more complex risks to business, expectations on the CFO will be high. They’ll be required to implement and manage cutting-edge risk management processes within the finance department and business as a whole. A proactive approach towards threats will be key. One report by NJAMHA showed four in ten finance chiefs currently own or co-own cybersecurity responsibility within their organisations.

The CFO Must Prepare Talent for the FuturePrepping talent for a finance role was once the domain of HR, but in order to prepare new employees for the future of finance, CFOs are going to be required to increase involvement to ensure new employees can multitask, show technical competence and handle business strategy. Around 42% of CFOs are also prioritising soft skills as a key element for future hires.

The CFO Must Be a Leader in a Rapidly Changing Workplace: With the consumerisation of real estate becoming a global trend, more businesses are choosing an agile approach to office space to expand into new markets, reduce costs, increase networking opportunities and improve staff happiness. Tied into this, the modern CFO will need to develop leadership skills to not only manage talent but also implement development strategies that work across remote teams with geographic and language differences.

Today, the role of the CFO has evolved from financial expert to a multidiscipline strategist. In addition to traditional accounting and finance responsibilities, by 2020 research shows the top priority for CFOs will be keeping pace with technology and harnessing big data.

Nowadays, CEOs expect CFOs to have an impact on business direction and strategy more than ever before. And while the question of who owns analytics is still an open question across sectors, according to a report by Deloitte, finance is the area most often found to invest in analytics at 79%, and CFOs can use it to bridge the gap between strategic and operational decision-making.

For almost three quarters (73%) of financials services leaders, customers are the main driving force behind their company’s digital transformation, however fear of failure is holding back the implementation of digital projects, with almost three quarters of financials services leaders put off by the costs of failed projects. This comes as no surprise, as seven-in-10 admit to cancelled projects in the last two years, according to Fujitsu’s Digital Transformation PACT Report.

“Financial services firms are under pressure from their customers to deliver greater speed, convenience and personalisation, as well as better customer services,” said Ian Bradbury, CTO Financial Services at Fujitsu UK & Ireland. “Digital transformation is certainly a key strategy in helping banks and insurers achieve this, however, despite the sector going from strength to strength, financial sector firms have undertaken unsuccessful projects and lost money. This has made them nervous about deploying new projects. But we feel that success can be born out of previous unsuccessful projects, as previous failures allow organisations to learn. In an ever-changing market, there is no such thing as permanent success. Organisations must continuously improve, learning from their mistakes along the way.”

Even though over four-in-five (87%) have a clearly defined digital strategy, almost three quarters (73%) admit that their digital transformation projects often aren’t linked to the overarching business strategy. But is this the sole reason UK financial services leaders can’t get to grips with their digital projects?

Realising a digital vision is not just about having the right technology. In order to successfully digitally transform, this research highlights four strategic elements businesses must focus on: People, Actions, Collaboration and Technology – the Digital PACT.

  1. People

While admitting to a problematic skills gap – especially as 80% believe the lack of skills within the business is the biggest hindrance to addressing cybersecurity – it is encouraging to see that over nine-in-10 believe they have a culture of innovation within their organisation. Despite this believe, 87% believe that fear of failure is a hindrance to digital transformation projects. There is therefore a long way to go for financial services companies to truly transform their culture to thrive on innovation. As UK financial services firms are taking measures to increase their access to digital skills and expertise (93%), four-in-five believe attracting ‘digitally native’ staff will be vital to their firms’ success in the next three years, as well as turning towards targeted recruitment (72%) and apprenticeships (50%) to support digital transformation.

  1. Actions

Although having the right processes, attitudes and behaviours within the organisation to ensure digital projects are successful are seen as the least important of the four key elements of digital transformation, 87% are taking specific measures to support collaboration on digital innovation and over two-in-five (43%) are creating networks for employees to share expertise across the business.

  1. Collaboration

Over a quarter (28%) of UK financial services leaders believe collaboration is an important element in realising the company’s digital strategy. While almost four-in-five (78%) turn to technology experts for co-creation, 67% go as far as seeking consultancy and training from start ups and organisations outside their industry.

  1. Technology

Many organisations are already leveraging new technology that will radically change the way they do business. A fifth of financial services leaders believe implementing technology will be the most important factor to realising their digital strategy, with cloud computing and big data and analytics playing a key role in helping drive the financial success of their organisations over the next 10 years.

Bradbury continues: “Historically, financial services firms have been cautious when it comes to innovation. They are working under strict regulations and the very nature of what they do, means that a radical digital transformation project could have a detrimental impact on people’s lives – for example, negatively impacting access to bank accounts or making insurance claims. But this shouldn’t hinder innovation across the sector. Quite the opposite – with the help of external expertise and willingness to implement digital transformation, we can be soon pleasantly surprised at a revamp of the industry. Change doesn’t always come naturally, but the financial sector understands what’s at stake, with 86% admitting that the ability to change will be crucial for the business’ survival in the next five years.”

(Source: Fujitsu)

More than a third (38%) of IT decision-makers across the UK financial sector believe it has become more difficult over the past five years to find staff with the right skills and experience. Over a third (34%) believe the problem is going to worsen in the coming five years. This is according to a survey across a range of financial and banking sector organisations, including retail and investment banking, asset management, hedge funds and clearing houses.

The survey, commissioned by software vendor InterSystems found a shortage across a variety of roles. Almost a fifth (18%) of respondents cited a lack of data scientists followed by 17% who revealed a shortage in security consultant/specialists, while 16% referenced application developers and 12% mentioned financial analysts.

“IT skills shortages are clearly a major concern for banking and financial services firms across the UK and this is only likely to escalate in the future,” says Graeme Dillane, financial services manager, InterSystems. “Skills shortages are a barrier to innovation in the banking and financial services sector. And as firms upgrade their legacy systems and look to innovate to meet the latest wave of regulations, that represents an increasingly serious concern.”

When survey recipients were asked to name the key qualities that technology can bring to help mitigate the negative affect of skills shortages within businesses today, 44% of respondents said: ‘simplicity of use’, 42% cited ‘ease of implementation’ and 36% ‘high-performance’.   

The study also found that skills shortages are one of the biggest barriers preventing innovation as cited by 35% of the study, behind only cost (41%) while compliance was referenced by 31%.

“These findings match with our experience in talking to customers and prospects across the sector,” added Dillane. “IT employees with the skills that banks and financial services companies are looking for are in short supply. Knowledge transfer is therefore increasingly key alongside solutions which combine ease of development; simplicity of use; high-performance and intuitive workflow transfer.”

(Source: InterSystems)

In support of the tenth annual My Money Week last week, Equifax partnered with Young Enterprise in order to equip young people to grow-up with the life skills, knowledge and confidence they need to successfully earn and manage money.

Underlining the need for broader awareness amongst young people of the cost of the things they want – and how they might be financed - the credit information provider has released research which reveals that a third of parents admitted feeling pressured by their child to buy them the latest technology, and 35% felt pressured to buy fashionable clothing for their children.

“Our findings suggest that some parents are feeling under pressure to spend on their children when they may already be financially stretched,” explains David Stiffler, Vice President of Global Corporate Social Responsibility at Equifax. “As well as spending money on technology, nearly a quarter of parents said they have been put under pressure to keep up with the latest gaming devices and online apps, and a further 29% said their child pressured them to buy the latest toy craze.

“More than ever before, Equifax is committed to making a difference to the communities in which we live and work and My Money Week is a fantastic opportunity to encourage both parents and schools to help the younger generation appreciate financial values. The right attitude about money management starts at home so it is very encouraging to see a campaign that will teach children more about managing money in a way that is practical and relevant to them.”

The Equifax research also highlights how 11% of parents will spend between £51-£100 just on technology such as tablets, laptops and smart phones, for their child every school year. A further 10% admit to spending between £151- £200.

Russell Winnard, Head of Educator Facing Programme and Services at Young Enterprise, said: “It is important to have the right foundations from an early age to ensure that young people continue to manage their money well throughout their life. The aim of My Money Week is to improve financial capability for young people in primary and secondary schools. It’s all about teachers and parents inspiring young people to be financially literate, and the statistics from Equifax demonstrate just how important it is to learn about finances from an early age.”

To help parents keep control of their budget, Equifax has added an interactive Equifax Budget Planner to the tools on its website.

(Source: Equifax)

Starting a small business is the ultimate working dream for many. When you take the plunge to finally make it happen you’ll have lots to think about. One of the major considerations will be securing funds.

If you’re starting off a new business you may need a hand to get your vision off the ground. An organisation like SCORE could provide the support you need; it’s a Small Business Administration that has helped thousands of small businesses launch and grow.

Bear the following tips in mind as you start the process of securing investment for your small business:

1. Start early

If you have savings that you can put towards launching your business or expanding it, make it one of the first things you do. If you’re looking to secure investment and raise funds for your business, you’ll be impressing potential investors by showing them that you’re committed to your idea and backing it with your own money.

2. Have a plan

If you want to be taken seriously by investors, you need to make sure you have a growth plan in place so that you’re able to demonstrate a realistic outlook for further expansion.
This will give investors the confidence that you are serious about your plans. Investors will expect a long-term plan for development, with detail and forecast revenue; a good idea in isolation isn’t enough.

3. Recruit well

If your start-up is larger than a one-person operation it’s essential you have a solid team of people behind you. An experienced, enthusiastic and knowledgeable team around you provides potential investors with confidence. Choose wisely!

4. Approach experienced investors

Background research will prove whether or not a potential investor has experience when it comes to companies similar to you. You should ideally approach those who have a good track record when it comes to helping businesses comparable to you. They may offer more than just money - their knowledge and previous experience could be extremely valuable for you.

5. Point of Sale System

A Point of Sale System is where your customers make payments for items that they buy from your company. Such a system allows you to have much better control over your business operations as you know exactly what’s been sold on a daily or monthly basis, how many products you have in the warehouse and how much money you’ve made. You can keep track of your inventory through analyzing sales processes, sales reports and other data.

6. Be patient

Raising funds is never going to be straightforward and it most certainly won’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience so stick with it and don’t give up - honestly, it will be worth it in the end.

7. Be flexible

Investors want to see a return after offering you funding, so make sure that you’re flexible with the level of control that you are giving them when it comes to the decision making process. If they’re able to see that you can easily be a success without too much legislation and paperwork, they might be likely to invest.

8. Showcase your best pitching skills

If you’re looking to gain investment, you really need to possess strong pitching skills. Investors need to see a clear and concise plan of the future direction of your business, exactly how their money is going to help, and when they might see a return on their investment. Practice makes perfect so make sure that you don’t neglect the preparation stage.

Securing investments can be a daunting process, but it can be done. Prepare thoroughly, do your homework, be confident, explain your vision clearly, and you’ll have a great chance of succeeding.

About Finance Monthly

Universal Media logo
Finance Monthly is a comprehensive website tailored for individuals seeking insights into the world of consumer finance and money management. It offers news, commentary, and in-depth analysis on topics crucial to personal financial management and decision-making. Whether you're interested in budgeting, investing, or understanding market trends, Finance Monthly provides valuable information to help you navigate the financial aspects of everyday life.
© 2024 Finance Monthly - All Rights Reserved.
News Illustration

Get our free weekly FM email

Subscribe to Finance Monthly and Get the Latest Finance News, Opinion and Insight Direct to you every week.
chevron-right-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram