Both must work hand-in-hand to plan and implement strategies that create talent or leadership programmes, multi-functional experiences, and job rotations as part of experiential learning, says Daniel Leung, Country Manager, ACCA.
In a typical organisation setting, the human resources (HR) department is seated in a corner of the office. The finance department often sits on the opposite side of the room. You might say that HR is the right brain of the company – intuitive and objective – while finance is the left brain, which is logical and analytical. In most companies, they operate in siloes, functioning independently and barely communicating with each other.
Over the years, with the advent of technology and data analytics, the responsibilities and skillsets of finance and HR functions have significantly evolved. In Singapore, recent research by Anaplan, Inc. and Deloitte has revealed that local CFOs are eager to spearhead strategies and plan and measure their company’s sustainability and ESG efforts. Separately, a survey by ServiceNow identified that CHROs are quickly becoming digital transformation accelerators, redefining the employee experience by implementing new technologies that drive growth, enhance business performance, and retain talent.
Most importantly, both departments have realised the need to collaborate in order to enable the organisation to navigate challenging times and build sustainable business models. In just two years, the pandemic, climate change, employment crunch, and supply chain shortage have caused a significant impact on the global economy, and businesses around the world have had to change and adapt. In today’s economic landscape, organisations must constantly shift their business models to meet changing demands and to prepare for future uncertainties.
These global phenomena have essentially functioned as accelerators for change in business practices and consumer behaviour that had already been underway, such as digital transformation and adoption.
In the finance and accounting industry, most of the services we offer are intangible, and people are one, if not, our biggest assets. This means that there is a need to effectively balance the quality of services we provide with the growth and well-being of the people who offer such services. To stay competitive, firms are required to upskill their personnel, enhance their work culture, manage operations costs, keep up with emerging trends (such as hybrid working), and more. Just last year, ACCA published a professional insight report called Accounting, Purpose and Sustainable Organisations, in which, we dived into how professional accountants have been central to almost every aspect of a business, helping them navigate through challenging and competitive operating environments as well as ethically creating and sustaining value streams. The roles of finance and accounting professionals will be even more diversified than ever, requiring them to constantly learn and adapt for them to stay competitive as individuals.
Earlier this year, the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) and the Economic Development Board (EDB) launched new Job Transformation Maps for the finance and accounting functions. The JTMs projected that 77.6% of jobs would require minimal to moderate job redesign, and the remaining 22.4% would see a high degree of change in tasks and the need to reskill employees. They also identified vital technologies driving change and their impact on job roles, as well as avenues for firms to transform jobs and skills as new roles develop and existing roles evolve.
These are good reference points for CHROs and CFOs to work together to develop training programmes for employees, such as those focusing on technology adoption and the development of soft skills. Soft skills, for instance, are fundamental to fostering adaptability, creative thinking, customer orientation, and effective collaboration. At the same time, CHROs can leverage the JTMs to review their recruitment plans and collaborate with the CFOs to identify immediate and future talent requirements that will shape their work cultures to one that truly puts people at the centre of their business operations.
An effective organisation is also one where the CFO and CHRO work hand-in-hand to plan and implement strategies that create talent or leadership programmes, multi-functional experiences, and job rotations as part of experiential learning. On top of that, the finance team would also support the HR team by producing data that enables improvements in business and performance. For example, a report that presents how manpower utilisations correlate to and influence overall business performances and analyses the impact on current and future business plans.
The finance and accounting industry has been pivotal in helping economies navigate through challenging times. Within organisations, HR and finance departments have become considerable influences and driving forces that lead business resilience and build effective work cultures.
By working together and not in tandem, CFOs and CHROs can drive the organisation to be at the forefront of the ever-growing demands of building a sustainable business.
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