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Perspectives

Attracting talent in the digital age of controllership

​The role of controllership is changing as it shifts into the modern era. Preparing for change by attracting the right professionals is essential to a smooth transition as companies adapt to a digital landscape and chart their controllership functions on a new course to success.

November 3, 2017

A blog post by Beth Kaplan, managing director, Deloitte & Touche LLP*

Digital natives populate the new digital landscape, and research shows that millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. What is required to help this generation achieve success? This question needs to be asked as this diverse group begins to constitute the majority. What new approaches in recruiting, development, and organizational planning are needed? How can companies keep top-tier talent once hired? In a recent Controllership Perspectives Dbrief, Fostering talent with the changing role of controllership, we explored this topic with other leading finance professionals. Here are some of our key takeaways.

Attracting and utilizing the right talent from the new class of finance professionals requires both preparation and adaptation. Organizations must prepare by evolving the Controllership function to attract top talent and better adapt to the digital era. Retaining that talent requires modifying work environments to better align with the expectations of millennials and maximize the benefits their unique skills can offer an organization.

Here are some key insights into how organizations can prepare for and foster talent in the digital age of controllership:

  • Equip your organization with new technology tools: Millennials and the generation coming up on their heels expect consumer-grade technologies to be part of their everyday work environment. It is it all they know and all they have ever known. Process robotics, visualization tools, cognitive computing, and advanced analytics technology are some of the digital tools designed to deliver new capabilities in finance. These emerging technology tools foster growth and innovation and will likely be a requirement for attracting and retaining talented professionals.
  • Renew your focus on mentorship and sponsorship: In a recent Dbriefs poll of over 1,500 finance professionals, respondents agreed that mentoring, sponsoring, or coaching new talent is primarily the best way to prepare young professionals for the corporate culture, keep them inspired, and guide them so they can thrive on the path to success. Seasoned professionals and senior leadership have the experience. This new generation has a unique set of skills that can innovate within an organization. Mentorship will benefit both as it shares the wisdom of the seasoned few with the fresh ideas of the new generational workforce.
  • Make sure everyone has a clearly defined purpose: Previous generations of finance professionals worked in an environment that valued predictability. Those in the newer generations tend to seek more experimentation, innovation, and purpose-driven work. To attract top talent, Controllership has to start thinking of a job as more than a role in finance. It must have a purpose. Regardless of where in the hierarchy or matrix an employee sits within an organization, make sure their job has a clearly defined purpose, and that purpose provides a designated contribution to the overall vision of the company.
  • Strategic thinking is the skill that matters most: Even as the ever-changing digital landscape evolves the controllership function, strategic thinking remains the most desired skill in finance professionals. What exactly does strategic thinking entail? Critical thinking, analysis and presentation of data, global financial perspective, strategic agility, and dealing with ambiguity—these skills, both now and in the future, are among the most valuable abilities a professional can offer to contribute to the success of the function.
  • Keep employees engaged with a positive work environment: Keeping the digital generation engaged can be a challenge in a world where information overload assures attention is difficult past 140 characters. It all comes down to the work environment. A positive work environment and energetic company culture is an essential ingredient to keeping employees engaged and present in the workplace.

    Controllership in the modern era has reached an inflection point. Roles are changing, organizational influence is increasing, and operation models are shifting rapidly. The right talent will align the controllership function for success as it evolves into the digital future. Prepare your company now and join our series on Fostering talent with the changing role of controllership.

*Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the blogger and not official statements by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited or any of its member firms, including Deloitte & Touche LLP.

Visit the Controllership Insights blog for additional blog posts.

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