CFOs and hiring managers will again not have it easy in 2024. The shortage of finance professionals is far from over. To counter this shortage, the recruitment process requires a new approach. Ensuring a future-proof finance department, regardless of size, is key. Christophe Paquay, manager at international recruitment firm Robert Walters, explains which trends are already contributing to a resilient recruitment and retention policy within finance.
The shift towards automated finance processes puts an emphasis on different skills within finance functions. Here, Christophe mentions the importance of analytical skills: "Finance professionals must not only set up and monitor finance automation, but also have in-depth knowledge of financial processes and the ability to oversee the whole picture."
Decision-making based on real-time data is crucial for organisations to be proactive in a rapidly changing environment. This requires an adaptation in the way financials work. Christophe adds: "The ability to make relevant information available quickly and accurately and communicate it clearly is becoming increasingly important for effective management."
In addition, the demand for Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) professionals is high due to ESG reporting becoming mandatory. As a result, ESG is not only becoming an increasingly important part of the CFO's portfolio, but also within the organisation as a whole. "Sustainability is a topic that appeals to many professionals," says Christophe. "The role of ESG controller, in which you are responsible for ESG reporting, provides an outlet to channel passion for sustainability. In this role, you analyse a wide range of company data, not limited to financial data."
For finance professionals, the role of ESG controller can be a refreshing career challenge. "The focus on data such as carbon emissions, ED&I, suppliers and sustainability, and setting up and rolling out data analytics make the ESG profession attractive," Christophe explains.
Although candidates with Big 4 experience are still in demand, Christophe advises looking beyond the CV: "CFOs and hiring managers should focus on the long term. What will the finance team look like in five years and who do we need to hire to achieve this?"
Building a finance team that enables horizontal growth is crucial, according to Christophe. "By training finance professionals more broadly, you not only future-proof their careers, but also the organisation. Investing in generalist skills can even lead to identifying potential CFOs within the existing team."
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