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Retaining and cultivating finance talent

The finance function of organizations faces a new reality as fewer of the latest generation enter the sector, and experienced accountants retire; recruiting, retaining, and developing qualified finance professionals is becoming increasingly difficult. Service-based organizations must seize this opportunity to embrace digital transformation and automation to remain competitive in the future.

The reduced interest in finance among Gen Z

The reduced interest in finance professions among Gen Z has led to a global talent shortage of qualified finance professionals in the sector. As the baby boomer generation approaches retirement, the need for qualified finance professionals with expert accountancy skills becomes even more critical. Gen Z looks for modernization and cutting-edge tech, such as AI and automation, in the companies they work for, which puts pressure on organizations to embrace digital transformation. Companies that invest in these changes will be more likely to attract and retain top finance talent. Automation has already proved beneficial in finance, reducing costs and human errors while increasing accuracy and efficiency, so organizations must leverage technology to create a more attractive work environment.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the accounting field is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is slower than the average for all occupations. This means there will be a smaller pool of available talent for organizations to draw from, a growing need for people strategies that provide the right compensation and succession planning, and the necessary training to stay ahead of industry changes.

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Attracting younger people

The younger generation wants a work-life balance, career growth opportunities, and flexibility. They also value a diverse and inclusive work environment that aligns with their personal values. Companies that focus on creating an open, supportive culture will be better positioned to attract and retain finance talent.

A key aspect of cultivating younger finance talent is providing them with the training opportunities that come with digital transformation. Investing in training in areas such as advanced data analytics, cloud solutions, and modern financial reporting technology can help finance professionals stay on top of the latest industry trends and remain competitive.

Firms must also look for ways to integrate automation technology into their day-to-day operations, including streamlining accounts payable and receivable, automating financial reporting and analysis, and developing predictive models that help guide strategic decision-making.

The future of finance talent retention lies in combining digital transformation, automation, and a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. By taking a proactive approach to cultivating finance talent through the use of integrated FP&A (financial planning and analysis) and HCM (human capital management) technology, CFOs and HR leaders in service-based organizations can stay ahead of industry changes and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

Embracing digital transformation

The finance sector is ripe for digital transformation, with many processes ideal for automation. Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technologies have been making waves in the industry for a while as they provide an opportunity for companies to enhance their productivity, streamline operations, and reduce costs while freeing up resources that can be devoted to higher-level activities.

Automation doesn’t replace people, but it can provide significant relief for overwhelmed teams and free up time for more value-add analysis. Automation can also reduce the risk of human error, improve accuracy, and speed up processes that can take a lot of time when done manually.

By embracing digitization, service-based organizations can improve their bottom line, leading to a healthier and more sustainable business. This shift also enables the finance department to move beyond number-crunching to support more strategic decision-making within the company.

The advantages of automation in the finance sector

Automation has revolutionized the way finance professionals work and has transformed various aspects of the industry. It can make finance professionals' lives easier, improve accuracy, reduce recruitment needs and costs, and ultimately increase an organization's productivity and profitability.

Some organizations might fear that automation will make certain jobs redundant, but it's important to understand that automation won't replace human workers but rather enhance their capabilities. Therefore, investing in upskilling existing finance professionals to use and manage automated systems is vital. In doing so, service-based organizations can develop their talent pool and retain valuable employees while still benefiting from the advantages of automation.

Tips for recruiting and retaining finance talent

With a growing shortage of finance professionals and fewer Generation Z candidates pursuing finance as a career, retaining and cultivating finance talent is more important than ever. Here are some tips for attracting and keeping the best finance talent:

1. Invest in employee development: Provide training and mentorship programs to help employees develop their skills and advance their careers. Encourage ongoing learning and professional development.

2. Create a positive workplace culture: Employees are more likely to stay with a company that has a positive workplace culture. Encourage teamwork, recognize and reward good work, and create a work environment that employees enjoy.

3. Offer competitive salaries and benefits: Offer salaries and benefits that are competitive with other companies in the industry. Conduct regular salary reviews and provide opportunities for advancement.

4. Provide work-life balance: Work-life balance is important for employees to feel valued and happy. Offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options and flexible scheduling.

5. Embrace digital transformation: Automation and technology can help finance professionals work more efficiently and reduce their workload. Investing in software that automates repetitive tasks frees employees to focus on more complex tasks.

6. Promote diversity and inclusion: A diverse workforce can bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the organization. Encourage diversity and inclusion by promoting an inclusive workplace culture and ensuring equal opportunities for all employees.

How Unit4 can help your organization

Ultimately, the key to retaining and cultivating finance talent in today's rapidly changing industry is to create a workplace culture that supports and values employees. By providing the tools, training, and support they need to succeed, organizations can attract and retain top talent in a competitive job market, ensuring that they are well-equipped to meet the evolving needs of their clients.

Unit4's FP&A and HCM integrate to establish a comprehensive ecosystem that enables organizations to make well-informed decisions by merging finance and workforce data. Organizations gain an understanding of how attaining the appropriate workforce composition can enhance financial performance and add value. HR executives can evaluate significant KPIs that deliver more meaningful employee experiences, such as pay, tenure, skills, diversity, and regional balance. Integrating FP&A and HR data creates a holistic view of organizational performance and how people and teams influence it.

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