The role of finance teams has evolved far beyond crunching numbers and managing spreadsheets. The modern finance function is a tech-driven powerhouse, leveraging software and data analytics to drive strategic decision-making and business growth. As a finance leader, it’s up to you to ensure your team has the skills and tools to excel in this new environment.
Skills and competencies to nurture in your team
It’s no longer enough to be a numbers expert. Finance professionals are now expected to be strategic partners in the business, providing insights that influence decision-making at the highest level. This shift requires a strong understanding of the business, strategic thinking skills, and the ability to communicate complex financial information in a way that non-finance colleagues can understand. Your finance team should be capable of analyzing financial and non-financial data, spotting trends, and making data-driven decisions that contribute to your organization's strategic goals.
Because of this shift, finance-specific software like ERP systems, FP&A solutions, HRIS, and expense management solutions are becoming the norm, meaning your team must be adept at using these tools to streamline processes and drive efficiency. And as finance teams increasingly rely on digital tools, understanding the basics of cybersecurity becomes crucial. Your team members should be aware of common cyber threats, such as phishing attacks, and the best practices for safeguarding sensitive financial data.
Your finance team also needs to be adaptable, open to learning new tools, and comfortable with changing processes. This flexibility will be critical in maintaining productivity during technology transitions and ensuring the successful implementation of new systems.
Provide training and professional development opportunities
In this rapidly evolving landscape, continuous learning and professional development aren’t optional — they’re necessary. As a finance leader, fostering a culture of ongoing training is critical in equipping your team with the skills and knowledge needed to harness the power of technology effectively.
Here’s how you can achieve this:
Identify the specific skills gaps in your team. This could range from a need for advanced Excel skills to knowledge of new finance software. Regular performance reviews and open communication can help you pinpoint these areas. Consider also the future needs of your team, keeping in mind the direction of technological advancements in finance.
Develop tailored training programs to address gaps. These programs could take various forms, from in-house workshops to online courses or even formal certifications. For example, if your team is transitioning to a new ERP system, a custom training program focusing on that software would be beneficial.
Encourage self-learning. While structured training programs are important, promoting a culture of self-learning can be equally effective. Encourage your team to stay updated with the latest trends in finance technology. Online resources, webinars, industry events, and professional forums, such as the Vareto Visionaries community, can provide valuable learning opportunities.
Leverage vendor training. Many software vendors offer comprehensive training as part of their package. This can be a cost-effective way to ensure your team is proficient in using the tools they work with daily. Additionally, vendors often provide ongoing support and updates, which can help your team stay current as the software evolves.
Prioritize career development. Professional development isn’t just about skills training; it's also about career growth. Providing opportunities for your team to take on new responsibilities, lead projects, or specialize in areas of interest can foster a sense of progress and satisfaction, improving performance and retention.
Powering finance into the future
By cultivating a tech-savvy finance team, you're not just streamlining your operations and enhancing decision-making capabilities. You're also future-proofing your organization. You're building a resilient, adaptable team that can navigate the ever-changing financial landscape with agility and insight.