• Register
Return to: Home > Comments > What do employers expect from their finance professionals?

What do employers expect from their finance professionals?

Peter Simons, thought leadership specialist, CIMA

Guest post by Peter Simons*

There is an employability crisis across the world. Too many young people cannot find work or are underemployed, yet employers say they cannot find employees with the high level of skills they need.

In an attempt to bridge this gap, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) has long sponsored academic research and conducted its own research into the future of the management accounting profession. More recently, as a means of ensuring the relevance of our updated CIMA 2015 syllabus, we have engaged with employers across the world to research what exactly it is that employers expect of their in-house finance professionals. This research included face-to-face meetings with leading organisations in the UK, US, South Africa and Malaysia, roundtable discussions in 13 countries and a global questionnaire to more than 3,000 participants.

The employers we spoke to felt that the role of finance is gradually being transformed in response to business needs, with the emphasis shifting from technical skills and the production of good accounting information, which remains essential, to the application of financial disciplines in the management of a business.

In their opinion, accounting professionals should be able to apply their technical skills in a business context as this is essential to the day to day job. But at the same time, they must have an understanding of the organisation, its strategic context, its competitive position, its business model and how it operates, as well as being able to work alongside and influence others to improve its performance.

We found their ideal finance professional would be engaged, not just someone who will sit in a back office not connecting with the wider world. Today, employers want accountants to be connected with the rest of the organisation and with things that are happening globally, including current 'hot topics' and developments in the role of the finance function such as risk management, cost management and big data. For example, 65% of members we spoke to felt that it was important that analytics and data mining should be addressed in our updated syllabus, with 83% of members responding that employers would expect this topic to be covered at an intermediate or advanced level.

The basics remain essential but it is the management accountants who can combine financial expertise with an understanding of business and performance analysis skill that will have the potential to support decision making from the planning to implementation stage and thus be the most employable.

*Peter Simons is thought leadership specialist at CIMA

Top Content

    Accountancy Europe: the winner takes it all

    Jonathan Minter spoke to Olivier Boutellis-Taft, chief executive officer at Accountancy Europe, about how technology could change the industry, and how training needs to keep up to enable the profession to develop

    read more

    Embracing global technology trends

    Accountancy Europe’s Digital Day 2018 found the European accounting profession looking to tackle the challenges presented by new technologies head on. Jonathan Minter reports from the day

    read more

    IMA Conference: automation of the audit

    At the annual conference of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) in Indianapolis, Deloitte partner Alex Smith gave a presentation on digital transformation in the profession. Joe Pickard spoke to Smith following the presentation to find out more about his views on the future of audit

    read more

    IMA Conference: technology and the human effect

    The annual conference of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) took place in Indianapolis this year. Members of the profession gathered to hear the latest from the institute and other market players, covering some of the challenges and opportunities the profession faces.

    read more

    The Caribbean: a digital paradise

    The ICAC hosted its 36th annual conference in June this year – very much looking to the future following a tough 2017 for the Caribbean. Jonathan Minter spoke with chief executive officer Misha Lobban Clarke

    read more
Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.