Why Finance and Ops need to work together to address the skills shortage

Part 3/4

Research cited by the World Economic Forum shows that the global talent shortage reached a 16-year high in 2022. Closer home in Australia, the skills shortage continues to dominate news cycles and has been top of the agenda for businesses as well as federal and state governments. 

Building a bigger, better trained and more productive workforce was the big focus at the Jobs and Skills summit held in Canberra earlier this month.

The the immediate initiatives agreed to by the current government such as joint Federal-State funding for fee-free TAFE in 2023, improving access to jobs and training pathways for diverse groups, and reducing barriers to employment might take some time to implement. Meanwhile, organisations spanning nearly every industry are struggling to fill roles.

There is an ongoing global paradox between in-demand skills and shortage of talent, which is also mirrored in the Value of Connection report. While 98% of finance and ops leaders are seeking new skill sets for their respective functions, 72% of them struggle to obtain the skills they need. 

Lack of clarity over which skills and capabilities they might need in the future, upskilling existing employees, and identifying candidates with the right mix of skills were named the top three challenges when it came to meeting current and future skills requirements. 

The survey is also timely in shedding light on the opportunity that’s already in front of business leaders yet one that’s currently being missed. According to the report, despite both finance and operations leaders seeking similar skill sets for their teams, more than 70% percent of leaders only think about their own functions when obtaining new skills. 

According to the survey, both finance and operations leaders are urgently prioritising skill sets related to data science, predictive analytics and forecasting, and advanced digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Greater collaboration between the two functions can significantly increase the return on skills investments in the immediate term for both teams while also having a long-term impact.

The immediate benefit is being able to recruit individuals that can split their time across teams. But close collaboration between finance, operations and HR will also allow organisations to be proactive with recruitment and training to ensure that future skills requirements are met. 

The Value of Connection report also recommends that leaders from finance, operations and HR need to align on the importance of softer skills such as communication and teamwork when recruiting, especially given the importance of cross-team collaboration.  

The report emphasises that investing in people who can see different points of view and put themselves in another’s shoes is just as important as understanding how the latest technology works. 

A coordinated approach to investing in skills is crucial in a talent-strapped economy and one that can have organisation-wide impact.

Business leader perspective

“A key reason why different teams don’t work together is because they lack softer skills, such as empathy and communication. Investing in people who can see different points of view and put themselves in another’s shoes is just as important as understanding how the latest technology works.” 

-Susanne Liepmann, Group CFO of HTL Biotechnology and President of the FiPlus network. 

About the Wiise Value of Connection series


KPMG surveyed 1,300 finance and operations leaders from organisations in 16 countries across multiple sectors to quantify the impact of disconnected business functions. It published the findings in a June 2022 report titled Value of Connection, which you can download below. The report explains how deeper integration between Finance and Operations can transform customer experiences, build trust, and accelerate value creation.
With organisations in the APAC region making up 25% of this survey, the 2022 Value of Connection report has significant implications for business leaders in Australia.
Our four-part series unpacks the key takeaways from the report, which is a must-read for finance and operations leaders.

 

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Other articles in the Wiise Value of Connection series

 

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