Development and retention: why people are at the heart of a successful growth strategy Business News

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2021 marked a record year for M&A activity, with over $5 trillion traded globally. The future looks very healthy for M&A activity in 2022 – good news for business leaders looking to make bold decisions, realign capital and redefine the direction of their organizations.

However, research commissioned by BlackLine suggests that mergers and acquisitions and other growth strategies must be underpinned by the right approach to talent acquisition, development and retention. Particularly in the finance function, which plays a vital role in ensuring that key stakeholders understand the performance of the business and its combined entities in real time.

BlackLine’s Generation Future Finance research included a survey of more than a thousand senior executives and finance professionals in six markets. The results show that over the next 12 months, management will focus on growing international businesses, whether acquired or organic. In fact, when it comes to the steps businesses will take to recover from the pandemic, around a third (32%) of C-suite respondents said they plan to focus more on international markets for growth. and acquisitions. A similar number (31%) plan to be more aggressive about growth through acquisitions, while more than a quarter (27%) said the same about organic growth.

Many are also aware that they need to invest heavily in talent across the business in order to achieve these strategic goals. Nearly a quarter of C-suite respondents (24%) plan to invest heavily in developing existing talent within the company, and a similar number (23%) said they would invest heavily in acquisition of talent at the management level. This suggests that the right people, with the right skills, will be an important foundation for future success.

In the longer term, ensuring that the balance sheet is strong enough to survive future financial downturns is the primary concern of business leaders around the world. Digital transformation and new ways of working are also a concern, especially among CEOs.

For CFOs, however, talent acquisition is far higher on their priority list. While nearly a third (32%) said maintaining a strong balance sheet was their most pressing business concern for the next five years, almost the same number said the same about acquiring new talent. (30 %). In fact, more CFOs worry about talent acquisition than the long-term organic (28%) or earned (18%) growth of their business, adapting to hybrid working models (25 %) or the satisfaction of environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives (6%).

CFOs don’t trust today’s M&A skills

It is positive to see that the C-suite, and CFOs in particular, intend to invest heavily in talent. After all, if you invest in people with the right knowledge, ability, and potential, they will ultimately help the company achieve its strategic goals.

However, only 14% of CFOs are confident that they currently have the skills they need. When asked what skills their finance function needs to support the entire business, senior executives and finance professionals highlighted leadership skills, strategic thinking and technology skills as the top gaps to fill. This comes as more than a third (38%) of all respondents said that not all members of their finance team have the general business leadership knowledge or skills required today. A similar number (35%) said that not all members of their finance team had the skills to contribute to more strategic work (such as analysis and planning) and that overall finance and accounting (M&A) were failing to keep pace. other areas of the business in digital transformation (34%).

In fact, digital transformation appears to be a broader business challenge. When asked what skills their business needs to adapt and grow over the next five years, two in five C-suite respondents (40%) admitted they were concerned their organization lacked the necessary skills to digitally transform as quickly as its competitors.

The essential financial skills of the future

It is clear that business leaders are still grappling with the challenge of implementing digital transformation plans. For the finance function, this is concerning given the C-suite’s current focus on growth-by-acquisition strategies, particularly given the number of M&A challenges that arise when the parties to a transaction have manual financial and accounting practices.

For the finance function, finding people with both the right technology and the right M&A skills seems to be at the heart of the problem. More than a quarter (27%) of global respondents said they currently do not have enough people with software and technology experience within the finance function – this figure has risen to nearly one-third (31%) among CFOs.

Also, when asked what was the biggest challenge…

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This notice was published: 2022-03-08 20:13:29

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