CFOs Planning To Hire For Digital Transformation

CFOs Planning To Hire For Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is a term that’s being thrown around in many businesses, big and small, these days. Making sure your firm is able to cope with the demands of our increasingly digital world is essential to success.

With more companies planning digital transformation, a picture is emerging of a skills shortage in this area. New research conducted by Robert Half has revealed that eight out of ten organisations are planning to recruit to fill their current skills gap in this area.

In addition, the chief financial officers (CFOs) questioned for the report revealed that finance automation is a particular area of focus, with 68 per cent stating that this will drive their recruitment efforts in the coming months.

The survey also found that many firms are planning to hire temporary and interim staff while they try to fill permanent positions.

Matt Weston, director at Robert Half UK, commented: “Digitalisation requires strategic-level thinking and while organisations look towards creating more expansive roles they must also address growing demands in the workplace.”

A shift in the kinds of skills required is also becoming apparent, according to the research. Data analysis was cited by 42 per cent of respondents as a skill they need, while communication, problem solving and strategic vision were among the other key skills that more than one third of respondents said they needed.

Also making the list of the attributes required to successfully complete a digital transformation were commercial/business acumen, needed by 33 per cent of CFOs, and IT skills (32 per cent).

Mr Weston added that employees need to understand and accept that “change is the only constant” in workplaces these days. He added that upskilling, such as by taking business training courses, is something that we should all be considering.

“Professionals should look to adopt a principle of lifelong learning to ensure their skills remain current,” he stated.

But it isn’t only a skills gap that is constraining businesses in their efforts to carry out digital transformation. Writing for Forbes recently, Peter Bendor-Samuel suggested that companies need to rethink the way they fund digital transformation projects.

He explained that these kinds of exercises typically touch multiple parts of a business, spanning departments and functions, which means it’s not as simple as just funding multiple short projects to realise a large-scale change.

Mr Bendor-Samuel asserted that some of the changes made as part of a digital transformation need to be “viewed in the context of a portfolio rather than individual projects or initiatives that pay for themselves”.

This can be a challenge for many firms, he noted, because standard budgeting and governance models don’t work well in this context. Greater flexibility in the funding process is required, he stated, and companies need to avoid valuing this kind of project on return on investment (ROI) alone.

The results of the Robert Half survey certainly indicate that there’s an appetite for digital transformation among UK businesses, so assessing the funding model for this sort of initiative, as well as looking at hiring professionals with the right skillset, may become increasingly essential to successfully changing a business to perform in this digital age.