The Critical Finance Skills of the Future
Here are a few key finance skills that are essential for organisations to prosper in the changing world of work.
All business processes in the 21st century must adapt to technological innovations and digital transformation to be successful. This includes the finance sector and its professionals. Finance professionals must learn to use new technologies to update key finance skills like strategic thinking, problem solving, and risk management in this time of digital revolution.
In response to consumer expectations, the financial sector has gone digital. Advancements in technology have made it simpler than ever to handle basic and even more complicated financial operations. Nevertheless, the future of finance functions will be a synergy between relevant technologies and suitably skilled teams. In fact, for companies to successfully undergo digital transformation, they must focus less on digital technology and more on digital talent even in finance operations.
Given this, there are a few key finance competencies that are essential for organisations to prosper in the changing world of work.
Finance Skills and Competencies for the Future
Data Literacy and Analysis
Businesses now have greater access to data – financial or otherwise –- than ever before. Due to this development, there will be a tremendous need for experts in data analytics—those who can analyse large amounts of data to generate knowledge and recommendations. Effective financial data analysis enables finance teams:
- To gather the information needed to gain a clear view of key performance indicators (KPIs) e.g revenue generated, net income, payroll costs, etc.
- To turn structured or unstructured data into insights that promote better decision making
- To scrutinise and comprehend vital metrics and detect fraud in revenue turnover, especially since the financial services industry has experienced a huge increase in digital fraud activity since 2020
A carefully-defined data-management plan is necessary for finance departments to direct the collecting, archiving, and analysis of the ever-increasing volume of data required to carry out the many sorts of analytics the business demands. Finance must be able to quickly gather reliable, high-quality data to support the business—whether through more complex financial scenario modelling, knowledge of how to better manage liquidity or better advice on how to effectively invest assets.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Similar to how data has risen in the last ten years, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning – a branch of artificial intelligence that uses statistical models to make predictions – have also experienced exponential growth in importance. This surge has affected practically every sector of global enterprise. Numerous finance jobs and procedures have already been impacted by AI and machine learning. They already assist businesses with fraud and money laundering detection, trading activity automation, and comprehensive advising services. Leading fintech, financial services companies, and finance professionals, are incorporating machine learning into their operations, resulting in better-streamlined processes, reduced risks, and better-optimised portfolios.
Financial forecasting is predicting a company’s financial future by examining historical performance data, such as revenue, cash flow, expenses, or sales. The application of algorithms and statistics to vast amounts of data allows for the creation of forecasts, experience-based learning, and continual improvement. For instance, forecasting can identify trends in historical data to make future statistical forecasts that are more accurate.
Financial forecasting is important because it informs business decision-making regarding hiring, budgeting, predicting revenue, and strategic planning. It also helps organisations maintain a forward-focused mindset.
Financial Analysts are Critical to the Future of Work
Financial analysts (FAs) provide insights that can completely transform a business. And smart companies – those interested in thriving in this era of digital transformation – are taking advantage of that. Talented FAs possess the relevant finance skills and competencies required to future proof businesses and organisations. Besides the above, they are skilled in the following:
- Financial modelling – These models can help organisations better analyse their data and operations, and evaluate different scenarios to chart the best path forward.
- Budgeting and forecasting – Financial analysts can prepare budgets, report targeted versus actual results, and develop easy-to-digest financial forecasts.
- Investor reporting – Analysts can accurately report on an organisation’s financial and business position to various stakeholders such as shareholders.
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