More than 80 percent of CFOs said yes in our recent town hall / professional issues updates at the Maryland Association of CPAs.
The next question is, “So what should I be focusing on next?”
I think the latest Grant Thornton CFO study is chock full of answers for today's CFOs who are trying to make sense of this changing and complex world.
The report is titled, The evolving accounting talent profile: CFO strategies for attracting, training and retaining accounting professionals. (This link goes right to the full report in PDF form.)
It starts with the following context: “The current economic upheaval has stretched CFOs to the breaking point. Expectations of them have never been higher. They face enormous pressures to slash costs, instill financial discipline within the business, and partner with operations to deliver value for the organization — all while keeping pace with a rapidly evolving regulatory environment, with its heightened emphasis on risk management.”
The report goes on to say, “As the scope of CFO responsibility expands, so do the expectations of experienced finance and accounting talent. These individuals must keep abreast of ever-evolving accounting regulations and standards and develop technological expertise to leverage business and financial data. Today's CFOs find that technical skills are a necessary, but not sufficient, competency among accounting professionals. As they and their staff become more engaged in organizational decision-making, soft skills such as critical thinking and communication are increasingly important.”
The top three training issues identified by CFOs in the study are:
- Soft skills training
- Complexity of standards (fair value, risk management)
- Evolving regulatory framework (IFRS, convergence, private company standards)
Given the continued turbulence and pressures to do more with less, the report also identified the top three skills for CFOs / CPAs in business and industry to weather the storm as:
- Leadership / management
- Financial planning and analysis
- Strategic thinking (the ability to think strategically)
I would recommend critical and creative thinking to this list, along with collaborative skills or network leadership to these as numbers four and five.
I encourage you to read the entire report — it is well worth the read!
Did you know that our own Business Learning Institute leads the nation in soft skills training for finance teams? Check out our upcoming public seminars in these categories:
Has your job changed since the Great Recession? What are you doing about it?