Written by Christopher Argent, Founder, Generation CFO

Following our #BQs debate on whether finance needs to learn a programming language or not, we wanted to highlight where we see the education gap and the key learning for modern finance professionals.

Firstly, we believe Finance does NOT need to learn a data science programming language and the broad world of IT to benefit from new technology.

What Finance does need to learn is the data “art of the possible”, how to work on innovation, how to partner with data scientists, how to partner with technology team (working Lean and Agile) and how to accelerate your own digital transformation.

This will mean someone in the finance function needs to take on a new hybrid role.

This hybrid role will not only help you bring data to life in finance but keep you relevant in future finance teams, as well as opening up numerous doors across the business.

The below list may look daunting but we believe this could fit easily into a 10-week programme of upskilling, which overall is a relatively short space of time.

  • Data Training – “Art of the Possible” Conceptual Level Only *
    • Data Analytics
    • Machine Learning
    • Data Visualisation
    • Process Automation
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Cybercrime / security
    • Blockchain
    • Cloud
  • Innovation Accelerator Training – “How to” methods and “Mindset” shift
    • Design Thinking
    • Lean Start-Up Method
    • Agile Method
    • Project Management
    • Programme Management
    • Change Management
    • Communication Management
  • People and Soft skills – core competencies **
    • Cognitive skills
      • Critical Thinking
      • Creativity
      • Emotional Intelligence
      • Judgement and Decision Making
      • Cognitive Flexibility
    • Behavioural skills
      • Problem Solving
      • People Management
      • Collaboration / coordinating with others
      • Service Orientation
      • Negotiation

But where is the education gap?
We summarise the following as the top 3 skill gaps for transformational finance professionals.

  1. Digital Training – “Art of the Possible” Conceptual Level
    • All relevant technology
  2. Innovation Accelerator Training – “How to” methods and “Mindset” shift
    • Dependent on previous training, but most areas to be covered
  3. People and Soft skills – core competencies
    • Dependent on previous personal development but acknowledged areas of development include; creativity, emotional intelligence, and the new “project team” dynamic covering collaboration and service orientation.

So maybe hold off starting that programming language course, as there is much more for us to focus on to bring value to our organisations and stay relevant during our role revolution.
Source: *Based on “Memo to the CFO: Get in front of digital finance—or get left back”, McKinsey&Company  ** Based on “Future of Jobs Report”, World Economic Forum