According to a recent interview in the FT with Sally Fisher, a Deloitte partner, there is a real mis-match between the skills that companies need within finance and the types of skills that finance staff possess. Fisher, a specialist in organisation and change, believes that typically a third of the people in fiance are happy to lead sheltered lives focusing on the numbers.
In general senior finance executives tend to fit the common personality types of introverted thinker, reflective rather than social and often not strong on verbal communication. They have never been rewarded for innovation and the investment in skills development has focused largely on technical expertise. There is no shortage of people with the right technical skills but there is of people with the right behavioural skills. Finance staff need to be able to do the following:
- Build relationships within finance and across departments and the hierarchy as well as break down silos.
- Inspire confidence in others by delivering messages with clarity and impact. Good verbal and written skills are a must.
- To think strategically and avoid getting side tracked by low-priority issues and focus on the areas of of most importance.
- Negotiate and influence and push forward the business strategy, diplomatically, once strategic alliances have been formed.
- To acquire greater commercial acumen.
Sally Fisher would like organisations to focus on:
- Knowing where the value is in each business area & where the greatest costs are
- Create the skills to bulid trusted adviser relationships
- Use the numbers to provide insight into the business strategy
- Use communication skills to get the business to listen
- Lead rather than just provide a service function
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