The fourth industrial revolution (digitalization era) is happening right now. Business models, macroeconomic trends, and, most important, new technologies have motivated change in workplaces, organizations, and economies, regardless of their size, strength, or place on the map. Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, noted, “We need leaders who are emotionally intelligent and able to model and champion cooperative working. They’ll coach, rather than command; they’ll be driven by empathy, not ego. The digital revolution needs a different, more human kind of leadership.”
Finance employees are part of this fast-changing world. Accordingly, they should take part in the new reality by having special skills. A skill is the ability to carry out a task with determined results. The skills that we will discuss here will be important for finance employees’ success in the future.
In a growing business or organization, volumes will grow. Sooner or later, processing of volume transactions will be automated or digitized. That means significant time will free up for finance sales-support personnel. They will naturally reinvest that freed-up capacity into finance support of very large or complex transactions. Such transactions would need involvement of legal, accounting, business, and other experts. Thus, one of the skills needed by finance employees will be to program-manage large or complex transactions. The ability to pull together the right people – those with the right expertise to create and execute a program plan for a large or complex transaction and to lead without formal authority – is one skill that will be much needed in the future.
Embracing cultural differences
Multinational corporations have country offices in the majority of regions and in most of the countries in those regions. Because the world is now globalized, expatriates from many backgrounds work in many regional and country teams. Hence, the finance person of the future needs to be able to comfortably get along with all cultures, have conversations based on trust and openness, and consider different ways of doing business depending on the culture of the people he or she would work with.
Blockchain, robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are all examples of new or emerging (reborn) technologies. Those technologies will indeed change the way of working in the future, but how? That is yet to be known. However, the finance employee of the future should be aware of these technologies that might disrupt finance and be able to work comfortably in the new reality.
For more on this topic, read “Automation, Simulation, and Talent Management for Finance” by Tony Klimas of EY and “Six Best Practices For A Future-Ready Finance Talent Strategy” by Nilly Essaides of The Hackett Group.