Identifying Massive Talent Challenges in Global Finance Functions

April 5, 20168:37 am1073 views

A career spent in the finance function may no longer be the prime aspiration of newer entrants to the profession (and those that follow). Changing business model and operating footprints may be opening up new avenues for the enterprise to tap into ‘finance’ talent.

According to a recently launched report by ACCA’s global campaign examining talent management practices in todays finance function. ‘Talent Equation: First Insights’ reveals the current state of play of finance talent globally.

This is the first of five reports to be published by ACCA that will form a comprehensive research programme of finance talent management practices. Over the next 18 months, the programme will assess and address the critical talent challenges that organisations and their finance leaders face.

Capturing the views of nearly 600 finance professionals across the globe, the report provides a baseline understanding of the major issues. The initial findings suggest that attracting, developing, engaging and retaining finance professionals are becoming increasingly challenging.

Omid Tissier, ACCA’s senior manager said, “The initial data collected suggests there is a growing maturity of finance shared services and outsourcing. 55% of organisations have had shared services and outsourcing models in place longer than 6 years. Yet as finance continues to evolve its delivery model, new challenges in developing talent are emerging.”

“Retained finance roles are still valued higher than shared service roles in developing tomorrow’s global finance leaders. The aspirations of the younger generation in today’s finance function may be changing too. 70% agree that young finance professionals want a career that ultimately extends out of finance.”

See: Technology Transforms How Finance Works to Create More Opportunities for Financial Leaders

Jamie Lyon, ACCA head of corporate sector, commented: “When shared services were initially set up around 15 to 20 years ago the key driver was for efficiency and cost savings. But as these operations have continued to move up the value chain we have seen a huge pool of talent develop which is of value right across the finance organisation.”

Equally, time served in shared services can help develop the broader business and management skills needed by todays’ corporate leaders, so it is imperative that this talent is tapped into both in finance and across the wider enterprise”.

With the introduction of shared services and outsourcing models, the structure of the finance function has turned into a funnel. The transactional and middle-office work found in SSCs is increasingly becoming the point of intake for finance professionals. With more jobs in shared services, and fewer opportunities, the funnel of career opportunities continues to narrow.

So it is no surprise that attraction, engagement and retention challenges are arising at all levels. With retained positions carrying more prestige, according to 60% of respondents, attracting finance leaders with the necessary capabilities into SSC roles has become challenging. Even if attracted, retention is difficult.

Since young finance professionals see more career options with a finance qualification, they do not necessarily make the same commitment to a finance career as previous generations. And the finance organisation seems confounded by their behaviour, unable to put in place the interventions that will attract, engage, develop and retain these future finance stars.

Is the finance function of the future missing out on talent? Is it at a juncture? Should career paths be restructured and skill sets redefined? Should the way that businesses attract, develop, engage and retain finance professionals change?

Should the SSC brand be championed more effectively as an integral part of the finance organisation? If it does not adapt, will the finance function find itself short of the critical talent required both developing the business and managing risk?

Also read: Financial Institutions in Asia are adopting a Cautious Outlook towards Compensation for 2016: Mercer Reports

Image credit: LinkedIn

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