Qualified accounting and finance professionals are considered the greater strategic role to an organisation’s financial management.
According to recent research carried out by Navigos Group, accounting/finance ranked third amongst the top five functions with the highest demand for executive positions during the first three quarters of 2010.
Of the total demand for accounting and finance manpower, 25 per cent was for finance managers and directors, 4 per cent for finance controllers and demand for chief accountants and accountants was a substantial 38 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.
When segmented by industry requirements, the Navigos Group research revealed that demand for accounting/finance manpower was highest in the banking and finance sector at 46 per cent followed by 32 per cent in trading and services and 22 per cent demand in manufacturing, engineering, construction.
Nguyen Thi Van Anh, managing director of Navigos Group said: “The most recent monetary downturn was witness to the growing influence and control that CFOs and finance leaders have in guiding businesses through troubled times. No longer just bookkeepers for their firms, accounting/finance professionals are regarded as business partners, skilled in areas of divesting and restructuring businesses, developing financial models and analyzingfinancial forecasts, as well as developing back office transaction processes that support cash flow and drive efficiencies in so many areas.”
Le Thi Hong Len, country manager of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Vietnam, added: “Changes in the roles of professional accountants and the finance function itself are partly a consequence of the downturn, and partly an outcome of a growing recognition of the value that the finance function and professional accountants can add to an organization”.
Len referred to the findings in an extensive 105 country, industry-wide survey conducted by ACCA in March 2010, in which nearly 70 per cent of respondents considered it very important for organisations to have a formal program to develop the best financial talent and 75 per cent suggested that talent management was an important component in addressing financial skills shortages prevalent in many organisations.
The ACCA survey also indicated that 76 per cent of respondents believed the primary objective of a talent management program was to retain key staff, while 60 per cent felt another important objective was to attract and recruit candidates with promising potential.
Reza Ali, head of ACCA’s Business Development, Emerging Markets, Asia, stated: “Since late 2008, the recession has provided the finance function with an unparalleled opportunity to shape and influence business. However, this opportunity can only be grasped if organizations and finance leaders invest in the skills and capabilities required to develop, manage and protect the integrity of these vital functions. Talent management practices for finance professionals need further development and must include elements for talent identification, development, deployment and retention”.
Navigos’s Van Anh concurred: “A comprehensive and integrated talent management program such as this could lay the foundation for business growth.” “Certainly," she added, “an appropriate talent management program would help to address HR challenges in the coming year.”
In a relatedsurvey conducted by Navigos Group in September 2010, 41 per cent of the more than 3,000 polled said that a poor work environment was the number one reason why employees leave a company. Unprofessional line-managers and inadequate remuneration packages were the following reasons with 37 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively.
Conversely, another Navigos Group survey revealed that 48 per cent of respondents ranked development opportunities as the most important criteria for accepting a job offer and employer brand was regarded as the second most determining factor with 30 per cent of the vote.
The combined results of these surveys point towards a strong confidence in the ability of a talent management program to contribute significantly to long term organisational growth and development.