The No. 1 issue facing CFOs and corporate finance

The No. 1 issue facing CFOs and corporate finance teams comes down to one word: talent!

Talent development, talent recruitment and talent retention.


It seems the dizzying pace of change has created a new world in which new skills are needed. The role of the CFO as the “expert in the language of business” is needed more and more as businesses have had to do more with less in an environment of increasing regulation, and with rapid changes in technology. Add to that the generational and demographic issues and you have a Category 6 storm for finance chiefs.

How bad is it?

According to the most recent Deloitte study, “39 percent of finance executives state that today they are either ‘barely able’ or ‘unable’ to meet the demand for the talent required to run their organizations. Looking forward, 33 percent forecast the same problem in three years’ time.”

We see four major drivers of this change:

  1. Rapid change and increasing complexity have become the new normal.
  2. Technology: New systems and new applications across the enterprise are challenging the CFO to stay ahead of the change.
  3. Globalization: New competition that can come from anywhere is challenging the CFO to be involved in rapid and agile developments in the business model.
  4. Changes in the CFO role: The CFO has evolved to become the strategic business partner, in addition to the traditional stewardship role in the business.

All of this dizzying change on top of the changing role of the CFO has led to a key challenge — a shortage of skills.

What type of skills, exactly?

Soft skills, or as we like to call them, “success skills.”

In fact, the top reason employees fail to advance is their lack of interpersonal skills, according to a survey of 2,100 U.S. CFOs by Accountemps. Poor work ethic and not developing new skills were the other two reasons finance and accounting employees aren’t advancing.

A recent CGMA article puts it this way: “CFOs are increasingly asked to develop strategy in existing and emerging markets while managing the ongoing demands of the finance function role. In turn, some CFOs believe their role is evolving from ‘chief skeptic officer’ to a manager of growth.”

Don’t just take our word for it. See what the latest research says:

Which brings us back to talent.

That same Deloitte talent study says, “Talent has a big role to play in making the transition to a new model. After all, skills in areas like partnering, market value creation, project management, transformation, analytics and communications are not traditional strengths in finance and accounting. Talent may likely have to bridge the gap.”

Where do you begin?

The Bounce!

The Bounce is a competency-based career model for corporate finance and accounting teams to get started making their learning and development strategic and systematic around the new competenices needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world. It is like a recipe for the future finance / accounting professional that goes like this:

  1. Start with the top five competencies for the future.
  2. Mix with the career ladder for the corporate accouting professional (five job levels from entry level to CFO).
  3. Create a 5 x 5 matrix of the job levels and competencies.
  4. Fill with courses mapped to the competenices and job levels.
Voila! You now have a curriculum based on a competency-based career model.
This approach is behind the new Sage-BLI strategic partnership offering The Competitive Edge for Accounting Professionals curriculum. In fact, our research shows that offering a career path and learning to support it is a major factor in both retaining and recruiting top talent.
That is how we can help you develop, retain and recruit the top talent you will need to succeed in this new normal.


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