The finance leaders of tomorrow are hot on the heels of today’s CFOs and senior managers! So what else is new? “Seasoned” professionals are always under pressure to stay current and justify their positions and salaries in an increasingly competitive business environment.
But there’s one critical area in which finance staffers are outstripping veterans in leadership positions that will lead to companies making changes at the top, maybe sooner than you think. You guessed it – it’s technology skills.
Finance staffers are ahead of their bosses when it comes to digital skills and understanding of how to utilize automation software, according to a new report from Gartner. “Eighteen percent of finance staff demonstrate digital competency, compared with just 11% of their managers,” finds Gartner.
And while CFOs are well aware of the cost-effectiveness of automating various finance functions, “not many finance leaders are learning digital skills themselves,” says Gartner’s Marco Steecker. Maybe that’s not too surprising when you consider how many more hats CFOs and controllers are wearing for their companies these days.
Gartner’s report, Predicts 2023: A Talent Overhaul is Necessary to Unlock Autonomous Finance, predicts “artificial intelligence and automation will result in 50% of all new employees hired by top-performing corporate finance functions having backgrounds other than finance or accounting.” CFOs will have no choice but “to accelerate their digital knowledge and better engage with digital-savvy staff to mitigate turnover and disruption” or risk becoming casualties themselves.
3 steps to ride the tech wave
What can finance leaders do to ensure they and their teams are prepared for the tech disruptions to occur? Gartner’s Steecker recommends taking proactive steps to stay ahead of the curve:
Steecker recommends CFOs prepare themselves and their senior finance managers for increasing demands of digital literacy through the following steps:
- “Revisit and update finance manager competency frameworks and prioritize digital competency” across the board.
- Organize “digital upskilling efforts” for finance personnel. This may require paying for on- or off-site training or working with internal IT/IS personnel if possible.
- Arrange mentoring sessions with staffers who are “digitally literate.” Everyone can learn from the most tech-savvy pros on any finance team.