Friday, January 24, 2020

'Persuader,' 'strategist' roles to lead finance departments in 2020


Corporate finance departments are experiencing a "skills gap" predicted to grow in 2020, according to research from Gartner Finance. These competencies, grouped into five categories, can help finance teams thrive in 2020 and beyond.​

The survey, based on information gathered from more than 1,000 finance employees, helped Gartner sort these competencies into categories, which they call personas, to help CFOs and finance leaders understand their departments' strengths and weaknesses. These five personality types are: builder, doer, learner, persuader and strategist.

Some skills, such as those relating to functional expertise, are well-covered, and are less likely to be in high demand in the future, Gartner said. But skills relating to IT fulfillment and finance analytics are in increasing demand.

"Although it’s probably no surprise to most finance leaders that technical skills relating to data analytics, IT fulfillment and IT innovation are in short supply, it’s not time to be complacent," said Melanie O’Brien, vice president at Gartner Finance. "Finance leaders should review the competencies of their current teams to understand what personas they have and where they need to build capability for the future."

While the five personas Gartner describes may not apply to all finance departments, "they do provide a template for finance leaders to think about what types of people and skills they will need in the future, and compare that to what they have available now," O’Brien said. "This lays the groundwork for building the finance function of the future."

The more pronounced these skill gaps become, the harder the impact will be to mitigate, O'Brien said.


The five personas


Skilled in business navigation, cross-cultural awareness, social intelligence and virtual collaboration, with an understanding of the nuances that drive the engagement of different groups (e.g., millennials and Gen Z).


Cross-functional expertise and the ability to exercise good judgment while exhibiting grit and resilience. Can balance timeliness with good decision-making. Talented project managers, able to delegate effectively and balance multiple responsibilities.


Agile, adaptable and confident, with a propensity toward entrepreneurship by suggesting changes in the department and understanding the risks and probabilities of success.


Fluent with multiple business functions,able to find meaningful insights from data analytics and KPIs. Understands evidence structuring and builds a comprehensive body of evidence when creating insights and solutions.


Excels at business coordination, IT and vendor management. Easily connects finance’s multiyear plan to business objectives and can suggest useful system modifications. Can build mutually beneficial relationships with IT vendors and maintain the kind of finance IT know-how that allows for vendor contract negotiation based on cost-benefit analysis.

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