The role of finance within an organization has never been more critical. Changes in the marketplace coupled with more specialized customer demands, shortened business cycles, the sheer volume of data and an ever-increasing array of digital resources has created more pressure than ever for finance teams to lead business performance.
The development of an agile team is the first step in adopting this new approach to finance. Seeing how a contingent workforce and finance functions can work together, CFOs now have an unprecedented opportunity to build out their external talent benches. This approach offers greater flexibility and levels of expertise than most traditional finance teams have had access to in the past.
Here are five characteristics every agile corporate finance team should possess:
Rather than waiting on senior-level approval for strategic initiatives, a new emphasis on agility means that teams decide internally who should take responsibility for which project outcomes.
For example, certain members of the finance team will take final responsibility for maintaining scalable, efficient accounting operations, while other develop performance metrics and milestones to measure progress.
Working in tandem with internal growth strategists, agile corporate finance teams pinpoint, analyze and establish key financial goals for their companies, and create specific plans to achieve those goals. In most businesses, especially those with a multilayered bureaucratic structure, this type of independent approach ensures a quicker route to success.
To remain competitive, financial teams must constantly learn valuable new skills. However, internal finance teams often lack time. As it is, they have much to cope with just to track and maintain current and historical financial documentation.
An agile corporate team closes internal skills gaps by incorporating contingent workers with the specialized expertise that their internal team lacks. These can include strategic thinking and communications skills as well as advanced knowledge of new trends in performance management.
Many key financial initiatives such as investing resources, upgrading current offerings, introducing new products and staffing for the future rely upon collecting, storing, managing, processing and analyzing large amounts of data.
Successful agile corporate finance teams blend internal talent with on-demand data specialists who have expertise in state-of-the-art methods of data analysis, including data mining, active and passive data collection, data visualization and big data technology.
Many businesses fail because they neglect long-term trends and risks. Agile corporate finance teams hire experts who can use their vast experience to look beyond the current timeframe, scan the horizon and predict future challenges and opportunities to stay abreast of new trends and competitions.
This glimpse into the future is based on experts closely following industry influencers, maintaining watch on changing state and federal regulations, identifying potential disasters and risk factors and considering long-term market conditions.
Agile finance teams access contingent talent resources to bolster their ability to:
- Determine effective pricing strategies for product lines.
- Demonstrate overall efficiency and profitability.
- Lead the team through internal upheaval following mergers and acquisitions.
It’s not uncommon for businesses to experience bandwidth limitations when it comes to handling key finance strategies and analysis. However, a deep bench of experts may provide the ideal degree of corporate agility at just the right time.
At first glance, finance may not seem like a business process that’s amenable to the idea of agile performance. But looked at more closely, there are many compelling reasons corporate finance should implement strategies that help them develop and test new ideas, reallocate resources and remain nimble in performance management. Rather than expend precious time and resources on recruiting and hiring an internal team, you can tap into external finance specialists experienced in working with CFOs at many top corporations.
Ready to build an agile corporate finance team for your business? Check out Catalant’s digital talent platform to find the most effective experts for your unique financial needs.