NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Many finance professionals aren’t keeping pace with the broad skills employers demand in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace, including analytical thinking, business acumen and communications. This skills gap was the focus of a recent panel discussion, “From Conformance to Performance: Developing the Finance Leaders of Tomorrow,” presented by the Chartered Global Management Accountant® (CGMA®) designation, powered by AICPA and CIMA, and Bloomberg Radio.
Senior finance executives and their teams from organizations including American Express, EY, Goldman Sachs, Prudential Financial and more attended the event to gain industry insight on the best ways to address this issue by developing competencies necessary for the finance leaders of tomorrow. Primary takeaways from the panel, which was moderated by Carol Massar, Co-Host of Bloomberg Advantage, included the need for finance professionals to learn more strategic business skills and obtain additional training in order to become better business partners to their organization.
The event featured a panel of seasoned and young finance leaders from varying backgrounds, including:
- Robert Falzon, CPA, EVP and CFO, Prudential Financial
- Ash Noah, CPA, FCMA, CGMA, Vice President of External Relations, the American Institute of CPAs
- Elizabeth Pittelkow, CPA/CITP, CGMA, Director of Accounting and Compliance, ArrowStream
- Linda Zukauckas, CPA, CGMA EVP, Corporate Controller, American Express
Accounting and finance professionals face a host of intricate business challenges and increasing regulatory complexity, which necessitate new skills, competencies and resources to achieve organizational success. Panelists at the event focused on the reality that, in today’s post-financial crisis world, the role of finance professional is broadening: they are increasingly relied upon to look beyond the numbers and effectively drive business strategy and results, support corporate strategy, empower innovation and deliver sustainable value to their organizations.
“Having the aptitude and ability to analyze business situations, strategies and even big data is critical in determining where the company should go and how to keep it competitive in today’s environment,” said Zukauckas.
According to Falzon, in order to truly excel in their profession, finance professionals need to know what drives value. “This can be accomplished through training programs like the CGMA designation, as well as by asking for opportunities with different business functions in order to obtain varied exposure,” he said. “Today’s business environment is changing; the skills we look for with talent has broadened and the level of collaboration between all parts of the organization is growing. In order for these marriages to work, finance professionals cannot underestimate the power of strategic skills, especially communication, and formal training is an important factor in obtaining those skills.”
According to Pittelkow, finance professionals need to demonstrate early in their career the ability to be strategic and analytical thinkers, well-rounded communicators, networkers, decision-makers and problem-solvers that understand the business thoroughly. “As a CGMA designation holder with a diverse set of business skills, I’m able to take on a more comprehensive role, merging finance with other business areas such as sales, human resources and legal,” she noted. “Today’s finance leaders need to demonstrate they care about the macro business environment, and it’s important to have a reliable learning platform to turn to in order to keep their knowledge sharp.”
“While having a strong technical skillset is vital, having solely this kind of expertise, and operating in a silo, is not adequate,” said Noah. “You do not understand 80 percent of your organization’s value if you are purely operating as a balance sheet accountant. Companies today want to see their financial professionals engaged with the strategy and execution, which requires thoroughly understanding how the business works.”
All panelists agreed that in order to achieve the goals set for current and upcoming finance leaders, a more strategic skillset is required. The CFO of the future must be able to interpret and analyze both financial and non-financial intelligence to make better business decisions. He or she must also have strong communication and leadership skills, be well read, diverse and seek to foster a team that accepts a lifetime of learning. While many of these skills are honed through experience, training and education play a key role in forming the base of business knowledge needed.
For more information on the Chartered Global Management Accountant® (CGMA®) please visit: http://www.cgma.org/Pages/default.aspx?TestCookiesEnabled=redirect
About the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)
Two of the world’s most prestigious accounting bodies, AICPA and CIMA, have formed a joint-venture to establish the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation to elevate the profession of management accounting. The designation recognizes the most talented and committed management accountants with the discipline and skill to drive strong business performance. Currently, more than 150,000 management accountants worldwide hold the CGMA designation.
About the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, founded in 1919, is the world’s leading and largest professional body of Management Accountants, with more than 227,000 members and students operating in 179 countries, working at the heart of business. CIMA members and students work in industry, commerce, the public sector and not-for-profit organizations.
About the AICPA
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, with more than 400,000 members in 145 countries, and a history of serving the public interest since 1887. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting.
The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination, and offers specialty credentials for CPAs who concentrate on personal financial planning; forensic accounting; business valuation; and information management and technology assurance. Through a joint venture with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), it has established the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation which sets a new standard for global recognition of management accounting.
The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, and Ewing, NJ.
Media representatives are invited to visit the AICPA Press Center at aicpa.org/press.