Finance and treasury departments are embracing technology at pace. Data-derived insights are guiding CFO decision-making processes, optimising reporting functions, automating transactions, and making forecasting ever more accurate.
The new technological landscape is giving finance operations a forward-looking perspective on their company’s activities that are enabling them to make better-informed strategic decisions, cut operational costs through efficiencies, and improve standards of service.
From a human resources perspective, digitisation and automation have removed staff from repetitive tasks so they can concentrate on value-creating activities. But they have also made it more necessary for treasury departments to build high-functioning teams possessed of both accountancy and IT skills.
Developing internal proficiencies and sourcing the best external talent are equally important to achieving this, and internal career pathway mapping is a powerful approach to implementing both.
Today’s Finance Functions
Data is at the heart of all modern corporate functions, and understanding its value to individual operations and the broader enterprise is one of the pre-requisites of a successful business.
Many of the administrative responsibilities of treasury departments have been automated using high-powered new technologies. Augmented analytics tools are making the interrogation of datasets easier, while bookkeeping packages are eliminating much of the legwork that once went into key duties such as budget and cashflow management. Digitised treasury processes can also be integrated into broader enterprise management systems that ensure the smooth flow of data across departments, bringing even greater synergies and efficiencies.
But software is no substitute for real-world know-how. Treasury teams are more than bodies of accountants. They are also risk managers and they understand how finance, markets, assets and financial instruments can be harnessed to help safeguard the financial health of their companies. These are highly technical roles that require analytical skills, an ability to respond quickly to changed circumstances and an understanding of the way an organisation works in totality.
Finance leaders must therefore focus on integrating those skill sets within their departments. Talent acquisition will be important in meeting these goals, but of greater and longer-term value would be the provision skills development and training within an enterprise.
The Benefits of Career Pathway Mapping
The success of such career development structures will depend on communication of their value and availability. That’s where career pathway mapping comes into play. It provides employees – present and prospective – with a roadmap for their futures and enables employers to demonstrate to staff their potential within the organisation and the opportunities available to them.
For the enterprise as a whole, career pathing helps boost employee retention, creating a level of continuity that is essential for succession planning by identifying suitable candidates to fill vital roles and functions in the future.
Mapping career pathways across an enterprise’s IT and finance professionals provides specific additional benefits to treasury departments. Both disciplines are in high demand as companies digitise and as treasury teams take on ever-greater responsibilities. Mapping can provide concrete illustrations of the career development potential, including compensation projections, that would come with combining the skillsets.
For the enterprise, the benefits will be seen in the stronger operational capabilities and resilience that result from creating digital-forward treasury teams that are able to innovate and respond to challenges with agility. Further, it breaks the functions out of silos, enhancing collaboration between teams and individuals that can lead to a deepening sense of purpose and scope among them. And, importantly at a time of tight labour conditions, the cross-pollination of functions raises a treasury department’s ability to attract – and keep – the best talent.
Ultimately, all of these will feed back into further transformation and optimisation of operations within departments.
Getting it Right
Plotting employee career paths requires thought and planning – but also investment. The biggest focus is likely to be on the provision of training and skills enhancement programmes, such as jobs shadowing and mentorship schemes. These will be among the chief lures for getting employees on board and so need to be communicated clearly and executed effectively.
Career pathway maps can identify skills gaps and shortfalls within an organisation and this data can feed into tailoring training programmes to meet the greatest needs of the enterprise.
Cross-skills development will not necessarily result from linear career paths. Be clear in maps to show that lateral moves between functions do not represent a pause or reversal of an employee’s development; they are a key means of gaining experience in both fields that will provide the basis for further promotion.
And finally, be clear and honest within career pathway maps. Promising more than can be delivered will breed frustration and discontent that could be counterproductive to the objectives of career pathing.