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Trending Talents: How to Build a Future-Fit Finance and Accounting Workforce

A powerful undercurrent of technological change is sweeping through finance and accounting (F&A), carrying the industry into uncharted digital waters. According to a recent survey, an overwhelming majority of finance professionals recognize the disruptive potential of emerging technologies.  

 In fact, 71% of surveyed finance experts believe their industry will experience large-scale transformation driven by innovations in artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and cloud computing. Accounting professionals are equally bullish on the prospects of digital disruption, with 90% of accountants reporting they believe technology will drive their firm’s future growth.  

This transformation is both exciting and challenging. The sheer volume of data available has never been greater, creating immense opportunity that demands new skill sets. Successful F&A professionals must navigate this landscape, embracing the power of technology while maintaining essential accounting and finance expertise. 

There’s no shortage of disruptive forces shaping the industry — here are a few of the most impactful trends, and what you can do to make the most of them. 

The New Essentials: Beyond Technical Proficiency 

While technical skills in F&A remain foundational, the current climate demands more. Adaptability, communication, and a problem-solving mindset are just as indispensable as fluency in financial modeling. Here’s why: 

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving: Data is everywhere. It’s the ability to analyze, interrogate the numbers, and identify patterns that sets exceptional F&A professionals apart. 
  • Data storytelling: Numbers alone don’t change minds. Today’s F&A professionals need to master the art of translating complex datasets into clear narratives that inform business strategy and win stakeholder support. 
  • Adaptability and curiosity: Automation, cloud-based tech, and emerging AI tools constantly redefine the field. Those who thrive will be those comfortable with change and eager to embrace new technologies. In a recent survey, as many as 83% of survey respondents said that the ability to learn new competencies quickly is the most crucial soft skill. Next in line are analytical thinking (81%) and the ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity (80%). 

Collaboration is the New Currency 

F&A teams can no longer afford to operate in silos. Decision-making across an enterprise is increasingly data-driven. This means the insights from F&A need to be communicated and readily understood across departments. 

Look for candidates who: 

  • Speak the language of business: They can distill financial data in a way that resonates with non-finance colleagues. 
  • Are natural collaborators: They actively build bridges across departments, recognizing that shared insights drive shared success. 
  • Embrace technological enablers: They are adept at using collaborative tools, data visualization platforms, and communication technologies that facilitate information exchange. 

Organizations that cultivate a culture of cross-functional partnership and leverage the collective intelligence of their teams will gain a significant competitive edge. 

From Number Crunching to Strategic Insight 

The most valuable F&A professionals are those who see the bigger picture. They transcend the “what” of the data to unveil the “why” and the “so what.” They don’t merely report; they provide actionable insights that inform business strategy. This means seeking candidates comfortable with asking questions like: 

  • How do these figures impact overall business goals? 
  • What opportunities or potential risks do these trends reveal? 
  • What would a different course of action look like, based on the data, and what are its financial implications? 

Candidates who can contextualize financial data within the broader strategic scheme of things and translate it into forward-looking, business-centric recommendations will be highly prized.  

The Value of Unconventional Backgrounds 

As technology drives innovation in F&A, don’t hesitate to look beyond traditional finance and accounting backgrounds. Consider candidates with these complementary skill sets: 

  • Data science: Experience in data extraction, visualization, and predictive analytics. 
  • Engineering: The ability to understand and potentially contribute to the automation and process refinement that is revolutionizing accounting. 
  • Business analysis: Proven experience connecting data-driven insights to broader business strategy. 
  • Computer science/IT: Expertise in developing and integrating financial software, systems, and applications. 

The Talent and Staffing Challenge 

Companies that proactively build teams with a wide range of skill sets and promote a culture of continuous learning and upskilling will find themselves leading the charge in this transformative era.  Those resistant to change may find themselves outpaced and made irrelevant by the very disruptive forces they once overlooked. 

 The Judge Group specializes in curating future-focused F&A talent across the country. If you’re looking to level up your team, let’s talk. Contact Judge today.