The majority of UK executives (81 percent) want to form stronger partnerships between the finance department and other parts of the business, according to new research from recruiter Robert Half UK.
However, a third of executives (33 percent) say they find it difficult to source candidates with the necessary skills and experience to implement a business partnering approach. Over half (58 percent) of executives report difficulties in retraining existing finance professionals to take on a business partnering role as a result.
This leads close to two-thirds (70 percent) to look externally for talent, via permanent recruitment (35 percent) or interim professionals (35 percent).
The report points to a range of drivers that are pushing finance partnering across the UK, including increased business complexity, intense competition, greater business volatility and technological change. Two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) say that economic uncertainty increases the need for finance to develop business partnering capabilities.
Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said: “The research highlights a new skills gap for finance departments who want to make the transition from traditional accountancy to add extra value across their organisations, including optimising the performance of the business, providing support for better business decision-making, and improving risk management throughout the organisation. Our research shows that the vast majority of finance teams see the requirement to change, but lack the right people to put it into practice. “
These survey results are indicative of a wider trend of increased collaboration between business functions. Because of current economic volatility, it’s unsurprising this is being led by finance, who bear ultimate financial responsibility and are therefore keen to maintain tight control over costs across the business.
As the economy stabilises, this collaboration will continue as businesses see the benefits of having additional input in key decisions – HR and PR will be a strong relationship going forward as the company’s position as an employer is used by job candidates and potential customers as part of the decision-making process.