Posted by Robert Half on 10 March 2016
Businesses across the UK are under pressure to find new commercial opportunities and seek out efficiencies, while continuing to maintain reporting and compliance standards. On the face of it, investing in new technology makes good business sense. But it also calls for investment of another sort – ensuring your accounting and finance team have the necessary skills to master the latest innovations.
The sheer pace of technological change is bringing its own challenges. Research published in Finance 2020: closer than you think found that CFOs rank ‘keeping pace with technology change’ as the top priority for 2020. At the same time, 45% of CFOs see understanding of financial software packages as an important technical skill for accounting and finance professionals to develop.
Helping your accounting and finance team develop their technical skills is essential if they are to be productive in a workplace where technology is rapidly evolving. Take a look at these four strategies to identify the areas for development – and improve the strengths – of your finance function.
1. Understand the skills of your team
This is a key starting point to give you an understanding of where your finance function has existing capabilities. Use questionnaires or face-to-face discussions to determine the technical skills and knowledge currently available within your accounting and finance team.
2. Invest in new skills
Encourage your accounting and finance team to become more tech-savvy through targeted training and development. This can include formal training held in-house or by independent vendors. Your software or hardware provider may also provide competitively priced certification programs or share details of suitable courses, seminars and conferences.
Alternatively, support staff to undertake their own training by providing study leave and reimbursing costs on completion of approved programs.
3. Embrace mentoring
Mentoring can be a low cost way to improve the technology capabilities of your finance and accounting staff. Younger workers may be more accustomed to newer technology, so don’t overlook the possibility of reverse mentoring – where junior team members act as mentors for more senior colleagues.
4. Take note of the ‘skills-application’ gap
As businesses look to implement enterprise resource planning (ERP) or similar digital solutions, it may involve a steep learning curve for accounting and finance professionals. While learning new ways of working and how new processes will impact the day-to-day responsibilities, your team may need extra support to ensure they have a chance to grasp with these technologies.
As the accounting and finance function heads into a new evolution the transitional period can cause added pressure on teams. While embracing the exciting possibilities that the latest technology solutions can provide for the finance function, it’s important to ensure that your team are supported to master the necessary skills will allow them to make the most of these latest innovations.
This article was edited from WorkLife by Robert Half Asia