Digital technology is changing the way finance functions operate across the world, creating the need for a more agile, strategically capable workforce. Yet underinvestment in people and skills means many finance professionals are ill-equipped to face a digital future.
Are we focusing on technology at the expense of the people who power it?
Recently, The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association), the unified voice of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), launched a new joint research Finance transformation: the human perspective, with KPMG International.
The study of more than 670 senior finance and HR professionals from 44 countries shows that despite 76 percent of organisations currently planning, developing or delivering finance transformation programmes, they allocate less than 10 percent of their training budget to address their employees’ most significant skills gaps. This lack of investment in skills, particularly digital skills, could hinder the finance function’s transformation and its ability to support effective decision making within business.
Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA, Chief Executive – Management Accounting at the Association, said “Organisations are transforming their finance functions – investing in new and emerging technologies to streamline operations and drive efficiency. However, digital transformation is not solely about investing in new technologies but is largely about training staff, so your employees have the necessary skills to perform their roles now and in the future. People are key to the success of finance transformation programmes and building sustainable success.
When it comes to the finance function, the research shows that we are yet to close the most significant skills gaps. It is therefore key that organisations reverse the current trend and focus on developing their existing talent pool to make the most of digital transformation and ensure long-term benefits. Equally, finance professionals must commit to lifelong learning, upskilling and continuous professional development to keep up with the demands of the global digital business world.