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CFOs ‘unable to delegate’ due to lack of necessary skills in their finance team

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OVER HALF (52%) of global CFOs say they are unable to delegate due to a lack of necessary skills in their finance team, a report from Big Four accountancy firm EY has found.

Based on a global survey of 769 finance leaders, including 61 from the UK and Ireland, EY reveals that CFOs around the world feel they are becoming increasingly stretched as operational responsibilities take up an increasing amount of time that should be spent on strategic priorities.

56% of global CFOs said they are unable to concentrate on priorities because of time spent on compliance, controls and costs.

Finance function problems

EY’s survey takes in the views of CFOs across the globe, but problems within finance functions are more prevalent in the UK and Ireland.

60% of CFOs in the UK and Ireland, compared to 47% globally, say their current finance function does not have the right mix of capabilities to meet the demands of future strategic priorities. And, 67% of CFOs in the UK & Ireland, compared to 51% globally, also say that they cannot focus on strategic priorities because of increasing operational responsibilities.

However, just 38% of CFOs in the UK and Ireland say they need to improve their stakeholder management skills to deliver against future priorities in comparison to 50% globally.

Richard Baker, EY partner, said: “There is a huge level of expectation on the finance function. The UK has a complex, sophisticated and mature regulatory system, which inevitably creates a demanding role for UK CFOs. What is clear, however, is that having the right mix of skills and capabilities in their immediate team is a high priority for many.”

More digital skills needed

Other problems mentioned by CFOs in the report include the need to build their understanding of digital, smart technologies and sophisticated data analytics.

56% of UK and Irish CFOs surveyed feel the need to improve their digital knowledge, while 53% of global respondents and 61% of UK and Ireland respondents said the delivery of data and analytics will be one of the most critical components for tomorrow’s CFOs.

James Meader, EY’s Finance performance improvement advisory leader, UK & Ireland, said: “CFOs are adapting to a changing role which they are responding to in different ways, and we are seeing quite different profiles and responsibilities emerge.

“While this presents an exciting opportunity for CFOs to really shape the contributions they make, it also means that those who don’t proactively define their role in the face of these major forces may be at risk.”

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