What does the future hold for finance professionals?

Tom Byrne, Partner at Pathfinder, invited to contribute to the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants’ (CIMA) ‘Future of Finance’ initiative.

CIMA has undergone significant changes this year, as it moves to the next stage in its joint venture with the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) to form the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. This context has been the catalyst for the organisation to take an in-depth look at the ‘Future of Finance’.

Tom Byrne has been invited to participate in one-to-one discussions that form part of this project. He is one of the selected few finance professionals to be involved in this research. Tom is a past President of CIMA in Ireland and former CFO of BT Ireland and Bristol Myers Squibb. He was also VP Finance with BT Global Services. The discussions with finance professionals will inform several follow-up roundtable events later this year.

The CIMA initiative will examine several key areas;

  • The finance practice – around the tools and techniques employed;
  • The finance function – the role in the organisation and if it has changed; and
  • The finance professional – what are the demands on the role now and in the future, to ensure it helps organisations meet their goals.

Speaking on the subject, Tom says:

“We must discuss the challenges facing organisations; and ultimately, what performance is needed from finance staff to meet these challenges. What are the influences such as the impact of the wider economic conditions, existing and potential new technologies such as cloud computing; and potential threats, or opportunities, from automation of traditional accounting tasks. Finally, how the finance function currently addresses the challenges it faces; as well as how changes in specific industries might affect finance roles in the short to medium term.

These, together with the individual challenges Finance professionals face today in delivering more than “Accounts” but skills to be a better business partner are vital.

Skills in influencing and communication, managing relationships, management consulting, commercial nous and emotional intelligence are some of the requirements for today and tomorrows finance professional as the role morphs into the future .”

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