More Than Bean-Counters

Financial leaders continue breaking the mold and expanding their influence throughout their organizations, according to new research from staffing firm Robert Half.

In a Robert Half Management Resources survey, finance executives most frequently reported their roles have grown over the past three years to include more human resources (39 percent) and information technology (28 percent) efforts.

“Financial executives’ positions involve playing many roles — part strategic advisor, part data scientist, part collaborator — in addition to their traditional responsibilities,” said Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. “They collaborate with human resources in areas as diverse as hiring and compensation, compliance, and organizational culture. They also pair with their IT counterparts on initiatives ranging from technology investments and systems implementations to cybersecurity.”

Robert Half Management Resources highlights five skills today’s financial executives need:

  • Leadership — Developing and retaining a talented team are top priorities for accounting and finance managers. Executives must excel in guiding their staff, including managing and motivating a multigenerational workforce.
  • Collaboration — As their roles expand into nontraditional areas, financial executives can succeed only if they work well with colleagues in other departments.
  • Communication — Financial leaders must be comfortable sharing information with diverse audiences, from entry-level staff to the CEO and board of directors.
  • Technological aptitude — Financial executives don’t need to know all the tricks of new tools, but they should have an innate curiosity about them and a short learning curve.
  • Change management — Change can be scary, particularly when it comes to work. Leaders must be able to share company news, good and bad, and what it means for their teams.

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