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The changing roles in finance

27th February 2019

Following on from our recent blog looking at the developments to come in the recruitment and wider financial industry, we’re taking a closer look at how roles within the finance industry are moving towards a more strategic focus in a bid to embody greater digital diversity and rebuild trust amongst consumers.

A recent special report by Raconteur highlighted that, whilst the need to build trust has always been crucial in business, the need is currently, and increasingly, greater than ever. Amid data breaches and exaggerated annual profits in commercial business, the scepticism amongst consumers is understandable, plying pressure onto senior financial figures to maintain tighter control and display greater transparency.

From compliance to strategy to digital diversity

The same report examines the differences in how Chief Financial Officers (CFO) have been recruited over the years, noting a higher emphasis on strategy before the financial crisis hit, shifting towards a requirement for technical skills in the years following. The trick missed at the time, which firms are now demonstrating a clearer understanding of, is the need to view the role of a CFO as both strategic and technically equipped, as they increasingly play the role of strategists, spokespeople and forecasters.

Alongside the accelerated growth of fintech and digital developments in finance, financial roles are shifting further towards a need for digital strategy in order to streamline their operational processes and automate manual or administrative tasks. This evolution, PWC argues, is necessary in making better use of financial resources to become more ‘customer-centric’, thereby bringing financial responsibilities into more of a bigger picture role.

Building trust with consumers once again

Another challenge senior financial figures are facing is how to be a leader of change within traditionally rigid functions of an organisation, encouraging greater cohesion across multiple business functions and bridging the gap between the company and mainstream user to build on stronger communication and reflect expectations of transparency. In fact, 90% of CFOs interviewed in a 2016 EY study highlighted that focusing on a culture that aligned with organisational values and embedding a more people-focused strategy would be a key driver in their company’s growth.

Closely linked with organisational values comes the notion of trust. Looking back at some of the biggest financial scandals in recent years, the revelation of an untrustworthy move often sheds light on further immoral practices, undoing any of the positive connotations that consumers may have associated with companies prior. Take the Tesco profit scandal a few years ago; around the same time news broke that senior figures had significantly overstated company profits, it also emerged that the supermarket giant had been less than fair with many of their suppliers, delaying payments and exercising their bargaining power to get away with it. These revelations severely dented Tesco’s reputation as a supermarket that believed in helping to make a difference, as it highlighted a disregard for their supposed values – an often overlooked area directly linked to building trust with customers, clients and suppliers.

If you are soon to be recruiting for senior financial professionals within your organisation and would like to speak to recruitment professionals with a comprehensive understanding of complex specifications, we would be delighted to hear from you. Contact the team today to find out more.

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