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Improving finance leaders

According to the inaugural Robert Walters Greater China CFO Report, entitled 'Using Effective Talent Management Strategies To Excel The Finance Function', finance talent needs to improve their leadership skills to assume senior positions.

The report was created to help CFOs understand the relationship between talent management and finance function effectiveness, and surveyed over 580 CFOs across China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The study examined the challenges faced by the finance function during its transformation to become a strategic partner to the business, and offered recommendations on how CFOs can recruit and retain the best finance talent by tailoring development programmes according to employee’s traits and needs.

Changing challenges faced by the finance function

The study found that the top challenges most commonly faced by the finance function in the past five years included ‘driving top and bottom line growth’ (44%), ‘tightened business compliance and regulations’ (37%) and ‘change in customers' expectation’ (33%). “Our research demonstrates that businesses are having very different expectations towards the finance function,” said Ricky Mui, Managing Director – Greater China, Robert Walters. “It is now expected to perform high-level analysis and play a part in supporting corporate strategy. The finance function needs to be re-designed in order to have the right structure and talent in place to meet the changing challenges.”

Building talent pipeline

According to the research, 21% of CFOs found ‘identifying and developing future leaders’ the top talent management challenge their organisation may face in the coming year. When assessing the potential of the finance talent to be groomed into senior management roles, ‘soft skills, e.g. communication, problem-solving, leadership, etc’ came top of the list (26%). However, finance talent will need to improve on their soft skills, as 38% of CFOs singled out ‘leadership skills’ as the area they would like to see the most improvement in their direct reports, followed by ‘communication skills’ (22%) and ‘strategic planning’ (17%).

The finance function nowadays needs professionals with a combination of strong technical expertise and soft skills, but such talent is often hard to find. 

 

For the full report, please click to download the Robert Walters Greater China CFO Report, 'Using Effective Talent Management Strategies To Excel The Finance Function'.

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