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Although technology is rapidly changing how organizations do business, finance professionals continue to play a critical role. While you should certainly invest in technology, you also need to focus on building an expert financial workforce.
Embracing training for financial professionals is one of the best ways to accomplish that goal. The development of financial skills directly affects your organization’s profitability and, ultimately, its sustainability. Group training, rather than mandated individual training, is a demonstrably better approach to skill development.
Organizational Improvement through Finance Skill Development
You cannot underestimate the role finance can play in improving the efficiency of human resources, sales, marketing, information technology, and other organizational functions. Your finance professionals should be at the core of your operations by working with data from all aspects of your business. Consider it a holistic approach to success.
For example, the sales and marketing departments may prefer a certain marketing strategy because it brings them more prospective customers and healthy commissions. Your finance team should adopt a broader perspective; perhaps, choosing instead to recommend pursuing clients with a higher customer lifetime value and better retention rates.
Your financial department can make significant improvements throughout the entire business by making informed decisions about the supply chain, capital investments, business location, information technology, recruitment, and training.
Financial Skills Training
How finance professionals contribute to the success of an organization may vary depending on the business model you employ and the industry in which your firm operates. One factor stays constant: your employees need the training to improve financial skills.
Many finance specialists possess qualifications from respected institutions. The practical value of their training varies, with some students learning the theory without grasping the practice. A degree or degrees do not ensure that your employees can perform to the best of their ability. That’s why additional training from organizations like CFIis so important.
Factors in Finance Team Success
When you assemble a finance team, you may look for a solid college or university background. But you also look at other factors and ways to maximize your department’s assets. They include:
The Accenture High Performance Finance report notes, “Talent is key and that success depends upon having the best talent — period.” No one can logically argue with that premise. However, untrained talent will not get you far. You need to educate your team so the members can hone their skills. You can best accomplish that goal by giving them access to courses from an institution that specializes in advanced and yet practical financial education.
Obviously, you will need to invest capital in this additional training. To get your company to literally buy into this mission means you will have to justify the cost by explaining the value. Fortunately, the cold hard facts are on your side.
A randomized control study involving 852 firms sought to determine the impact of finance skill training, along with marketing skill training, on business performance. The study was conducted in South Africa, an emerging market with access to global markets and state-of-the-art technologies. It’s also a market that faces various domestic and international pressures.
The research paper gathered data from a diverse portfolio of businesses of different sizes and in different market conditions. The study found that both marketing and top finance skills improve your team as a whole and result in increased profitability.
Cost reduction strategies
A business can increase its earnings by improving overall sales or by increasing its efficiency and effectiveness by reducing costs and expenses. The researchers found that the group trained in marketing focused on growth, concentrating on higher sales, improvements in inventory, and hiring more employees. This is a valid approach, but not all firms can adopt it.
Some markets are saturated or dominated by large firms. There may be room to expand sales, but it is likely to be limited. That’s why your finance department needs to be trained in price reduction strategy. This path is demonstrably effective in a digital and price-sensitive global marketplace.
A group trained in skills such as data analysis, Excel, and Tableau focuses on efficiency, a strategy that results in significantly lower costs. Several factors influence the success and sustainability of this strategy, which targets the effectiveness of the people within the organization as well as its processes and supply chain management.
Your competitors will have limited access to the details of your new strategy, but the results will be clear on your bottom line. Changes driven by professionals within the firm are often a sustainable path to better business performance — more so than increased marketing efforts.
Train Your Team and Improve Finance Skills
The success or failure of your training push depends in part on the approach you take. You may choose to require the finance professionals within your company to gain a certain qualification by a specified deadline. However, that approach may feel disjointed.
Your team is likely to complete training at a different pace and during different periods, which will limit their ability to collaborate during crucial financial periods. An awkward start may also sour management on this training investment.
A more effective approach is training in teams, which allows an organization to ensure that its employees receive the same quality of training in stable and optimally sized teams. A publication in theJournal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society noted that this approach enhances the effectiveness of training interventions.
In addition, the researchers found that this training enhances cognitive outcomes, affective outcomes, collaborative processes, and performance outcomes. Training in this way is simply more effective in many ways.
It is worth noting in this new age of remote work and collaboration that training should tap into learning innovations. Finance specialists need to upskill or re-skill while staying current with their traditional finance responsibilities. Scheduling on-site training would probably be costlier and would require more time investment.
Business plans tailored to finance upskilling can include online instruction suitable for all types of firms. These plans can include team training for Wall Street professionals, finance departments in industry-leading firms, and businesses in developing markets.
You will also need to quantify the results to keep this training on your company’s radar. Ideally, measuring this training should include individual and group progress tracking to ensure compliance and skills gap assessments to identify employees’ knowledge. You will be able to identify competency gaps and gain real-time insights into students’ progress, outcomes, and areas for additional training.
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