Why CFOs Need to Revisit Their Finance Team in 2022

09/25/2023 06:56:21 +0000

It's been a big week for many people as school goes back, rapid antigen tests become part of the weekly routine and Australia comes down from the Barty Party (how good was that?!). For us, this week also marked the first swimming carnival for my youngest daughter Mila.

We are not a family of swimmers, but the girls have had classes in the past and they do nippers as a requisite for living by the beach. I was impressed that Mila wanted to sign up, so when given the opportunity she signed up for the 50m freestyle. She didn't come first, and it certainly wasn't pretty, but she finished! After watching her race with pride, we left to go back to work.

Turns out, we missed all the excitement. She ended up participating in every race (except 50m butterfly – "that's too hard") including placing 3rd in the medley (I think there may have only been 3 in the race).

Now trust me - I don't need to worry about 4am starts anytime soon taking Mila to regular trainings and swim meets. But this week Mila demonstrated she could:

  • Put herself out there: COVID has meant that swimming carnivals are limited to competitors only. It's far easier to opt out than when we were kids and it was a fun day off for everyone.

  • Try new and challenging things: we didn't think knew what a medley was, let alone do one! I have never done one - have you?

  • Persevere: Mila told us that getting through the breaststroke lap of the medley was "so hard", but she knew she only had 1 lap to go "so I just pushed through"

  • Not win with a genuine grin: If only us perfectionists could be so gracious!

Do your team have the right skills for the future?

KPMG recently released the results of their leadership survey, titled "Keeping Us Up at Night: The Big Issues facing Leaders in 2022". As you'd expect, there was a focus on talent, digital transformation and ESG. It also, for the first time, included survey results on social issues which I think is a really positive move and I hope demonstrates a commitment to priority and action on social matters.

What I found telling was the relationship in the results of the survey findings comparing the top 5 challenges in 2022 and those expected in 3-5 years.

Digital transformation indeed featured at the top of the list....in 3-5 years, that is. In 2022, the key challenge was people. Specifically 'Talent acquisition, retention and re/upskilling to meet a more digitised future'. This indicates that leaders realise that successful transformation needs the right people with the right skills. It tells us that leaders are concerned their teams don't have the skills required to set themselves up to deliver success in the future.

Source: "Keeping us up at night: The big issues facing business leaders in 2022, KPMG 2022, p4


I think they're right. What I've seen is the last 2 years CFOs and their teams doing what they can to keep their businesses going in the context of significant volatility and uncertainty. Supporting the business to manage the day-to-day affairs, while ensuring operations and cash flow remain stable. In addition, the vast instability of the business context – with lockdowns, remote working, home schooling, supply chain issues and the talent pool shortage – has provided extreme and never-before-experienced disruption. For many finance teams, business as usual (BAU) was a struggle, let alone any transformation or project work.

Finance teams have done a great job supporting their businesses over the past 2 challenging years...and it's now time to lift

In 2022, whilst we're not at pre-pandemic operations, what is quickly emerging for CFOs with respect to their teams is a sense of 'It's time to lift. This is our new normal, as volatile and uncertain as it continues to be. We need to forge ahead with our strategic ambitions to be an innovative and effective business partnering function.'

But as the respondents to KPMG's survey recognise, this can't happen if your team aren't fit for the future.

CFOs need Elevated finance teams

This is why CFOs need Elevated finance teams. Those that have the capabilities, skills, and attributes for the future so they can sustain, improve and optimise their levels of performance. Your job as their leader is to know:

  • Where you're going
  • What skills your team needs
  • How you're going to get them there

At 8 years old, I have no idea what Mila will end up doing or being when she's an adult, but what I do know is that even at this young an age she is showing us that she's got what it takes to be successful at whatever she chooses. I couldn't feel more confident and happy for her.

Where do you want to take the business in 3-5 years?
What skills do your team need to be a 'future-fit finance team'?
What will you do differently in 2022 to get them there?

Author: Alena Bennett

Alena works with leaders and their teams to connect technical and leadership skills so they can deliver to deadline without killing their people.
She is a mentor, trainer, facilitator and coach. Contact her today on [email protected]
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 ⓒ 2023




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