What’s keeping CPA/CGMAs and management accountants up at night?

We asked a seasoned group of almost 200 finance/accouting professionals at the AICPA’s 1st Global Manufacturing Conference in Orlando, Florida this week during a panel discussion.

The panel featured a group of professionals leading the way in talent development issues facing global manufacturing companies. Panelists pictured above (L to R) me, Cami Jacobson (University of Phoenix Industry Strategy Group), Doug Roosa, CPA, CGMA (General Motors), Nicole Lenz (KPMG Director People & Change), Beverly Burch, CPA, CIA, CFE (Hill-Rom).

We used conferences.io to get inisghts from the group and to gather their questions for our panel. The output from the report is in the slides below (pages 5-8).

Here are the top issues from the group (slide 6):

  • Talent retention, recruitment and development.
  • Generational issues in the workplace and the transfer of knowledge from retiring baby boomers.
  • Not enough time to get everything done. Compliance, revenue growth and forecasting.

The # 1 issue (nine out of twenty one responses) and fortunately, the subject of our panel discussion, People, workforce, growing and protecting your talent pipeline, is talent development.

What are the top skills in demand today?

The group ranked the top skills needed for finance and accounting professionals in global manufacturing as follows (see slide 7 below):

  1. Strategic Thinking
  2. Collaboration and Synthesis
  3. Leadership
  4. Communication (tied for fourth)
  5. Insight and Analysis (tied for fourth)
  6. Creativity and Innovation (tied for fourth)
  7. Technological Savvy
This compares very closely with the research from the CPA Horizons 2025 Project and the Top 5 Skills CPAs Need Now.

As for recruitment and retention, learning and career development have become the #1 tool for attracting and keeping Generation Y according the the latest global management accouting research by Mercer and the ACCA. Employers who can answer the top two questions your top talent wants to know now are beginning to win the war for talent:

  1. What does a career path (think lattice not ladder) look like in your global finance/accounting organization?
  2. How will you help me gain the skills I need to advance?

One final point is that companies taking a strategic and systematic approach to learning and career development are beginning to separate from the pack according to the latest research from Ernst & Young covered in our post, Is a paradigm shift in talent management needed?

We are in a new era of business that is rapidly changing and increasingly complex and we are operating with human assets that have not been “upgraded”, we need new tools to operate in this new normal. Those companies and oraganizations that recognize this will be the future winners. Period.


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