CFO: finance professional becomes analytical and communicative leader

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Amsterdam, 13 June 2022 – The finance professional who wants to remain relevant in the future must develop their analytical, leadership and communication skills. No fewer than 39% of CFOs say that analytical skills are currently the most important skill in their team. In the future, however, this skill will no longer win out over leadership skills. Whereas 29% of CFOs now say that this skill is necessary, in the future leadership will share first place with analytical skills (36%). The third most important skill, according to 30% of CFOs, is communication. This applies both now and in the future. These are the findings of the FinTech Barometer, Visma | Onguard’s research into the financial status of Dutch companies, which was conducted for the fifth time this year.

infographic CFO in transformation

Click on the image to see the infographic “The CFO and digital transformation”

The importance of being data-driven

The data-driven nature of organisations is enabling the changing role of the finance professional. No less than 96% of companies work with data. In fact, one in five organisations (19%) is already fully data-driven. In the remaining organisations, the data supports the processes (48%) and data is collected, but not yet optimally used (29%). The most important motivation to become data-driven is to increase the efficiency of business processes. A quarter of the finance professionals (24%) cite the importance of this. Especially now that we have become location and time-independent, it is important to set up business processes efficiently. Other reasons for becoming data-driven are cost savings (15%) and increasing turnover (15%).

When this data is interpreted correctly, an organisation can predict expected growth, the probability of bankruptcy or the customer’s payment behaviour. As a result, finance professionals are able to identify opportunities and risks for both the organisation and the customer more quickly. This also explains why CFOs consider it important that professionals possess analytical, leadership and communication skills, among other things.

Adriaan Kom, Managing Director at Visma | Onguard: “The role of the finance professional is undergoing a major change. For example, as intelligent automation makes its appearance, many manual and repetitive tasks are being performed by the software itself. This means that the finance professional is increasingly occupied with analysing data, solving strategic issues and ultimately advising the management and the board of directors. Personal leadership is essential in this. This also changes the contact with the customer. Where software takes the more simple tasks off your hands, the finance professional can make the difference by focusing on customisation.”

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About the research

Every year, Visma | Onguard investigates how financial professionals view the current trends and developments: Fintech, big data, digital transformation and data-driven. This research is called the  FinTech Barometer and is conducted both in the Netherlands – through research agency Markteffect – and in the United Kingdom – through research agency Censuswide. At least one hundred of the respondents work as chief financial officer (CFO) and another two hundred as financial employee in an organisation with at least one hundred employees.

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