May 15, 2023
By Tom Hood, President and CEO at Maryland Association of CPA's & The Business Learning Institute
How many of you think the pace of change will slow down in the next five years?
In fact, over the past year talking with thousands of finance professionals, not one has said it will slow down. Most say that the pace of change in business is accelerating.
Jack Welch, when he was at the helm of GE was quoted as saying, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, then the end is near.”
This begs the question, are we changing and adapting fast enough? What are the skills needed for a successful career in FP&A?
These questions are especially relevant in today’s Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) environment where skills can become obsolete almost overnight.
We are witnessing a big shift in the finance and accounting world. A shift from status quo to forward momentum. A shift from denial to adaptation. This means that FP&A professionals need to work on their competencies.
The top eight skills needed in today's FP&A teams are as follows:
These skills form a foundation for what we call a T-shaped Professional with broad, boundary-crossing skills on top of our deep technical skills of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting and next to deeper tech-savvy skills. Together they include the critical competencies that the #FutureReady FP&A Professional needs now, and this has actually accelerated as a result of COVID-19.
FP&A and accounting professionals are taking a much more strategic and future-focused role than ever before and their keen understanding of the language of business and their core values of integrity and objectivity provide a powerful combination. Armed with the new digital systems and tools that the cloud provides and these new future-focused skills, they can help lead transformation, not change, but transformation in finance and even the entire organization.
It may not be enough to work on skills as an individual. To become truly successful, FP&A needs to build effective teams. The key to success is to develop a strategic learning plan that involves six steps:
The last step, communicate and inspire involves creating a visual communication to depict the learning plan and career ladder to show team members how you plan to develop them in your organization.
Future ready is the ability to be proactive and anticipatory in a rapidly changing world. It is the capacity to be aware, predictive and adaptive of emerging technology and trends in business, demographics, and the social environment impacting your organization and industry. This competency has become vital for FP&A professionals in order to help businesses thrive in this VUCA world.
How can you become a future ready FP&A professional?
After all, to become a successful FP&A professional in this ever-changing environment, you also need to learn how to enjoy the ride.
You can't stop the waves of change, but you can learn how to ride them!
May 15, 2023
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