2023 marks the ‘Year of Upskills’ and is set to see professionals across all industries advance their skills, experience and knowledge in order to progress and optimise their personal performance. And finance teams are no different. With technology consistently transforming the finance world, being aware of new software and apps within this sector is key. In fact, according to recent data, by 2030, up to 85 million jobs will become vacant unless employees realise that they must continue to learn and advance their skillset. With this in mind, here are 7 top tips on how to upskill and develop your existing finance team to future-proof your department.
1. Start with a Needs Assessment
First things first, start any form of internal training and development by determining the types of kinds of skills your finance team needs in order to be productive.
This can be accomplished through the use of a straightforward needs assessment method, in which you carry out a poll of your team to establish the areas in which they struggle. After gathering this data, you and your team can then design a specialised training program together that will focus on these key areas of improvement.
By asking for your finance team’s input first, you will be showing them that you value their opinions and wish to help them advance in the areas they feel they need to work on.
2. Offer Internal Training Programs
The most effective strategy to upskill your financial team is to enrol them in formal training programs. But it’s essential to ensure that the training your finance team receives is relevant and adapted to the specific requirements of the team, regardless of whether you decide to bring in outside trainers or build programs in-house.
Try to always provide a wide variety of training programs, including traditional classroom-style sessions as well as online courses, in order to cater to unique learning styles.
You could also incentivise internal training by offering a reward such as an extra paid holiday or coffee and cakes once the whole team has finished the training, or even the option to leave work early on a Friday if they complete each month’s training program.
3. Encourage Knowledge-Sharing
Internal cross-training is a fantastic way to save money when it comes to upskilling your finance team whilst also encouraging different departments to work together and form stronger bonds. When your individual teams understand and appreciate how the other works, this can minimise tension, anxiety and stress in the workplace whilst building bridges and supporting an internal flow of communication.
Another way to promote knowledge-sharing is to encourage team members to learn about the different areas of finance, such as accounting, budgeting and financial analysis. This helps to form a more well-rounded finance team who could then expand into these different areas in the future.
4. Offer On-the-Job Training
One of the best ways to help the members of your finance team learn new skills and get to grips with how your finance team works is to offer on-the-job training to new members. Rather than only highly experienced financial experts, consider opening up entry-level roles, and give your finance team a chance to nurture a new member of the team with on-the-job training.
When you assign members of the team to work on initiatives that call for the utilisation of new talents, be sure to provide them with direction and assistance as required. Training new employees can help build confidence and management skills.
5. Provide Valuable Professional Development
Inspire the members of your financial department to continue their education and career development by providing them with exciting professional development opportunities. Participating in professional organisations, taking classes, or attending conferences are all examples of activities that fall under this category. Not only will this assist the people in your team in developing new abilities, but it will also give them the opportunity to make vital professional connections.
Consider sending finance employees to AI in Fintech conferences about the latest breakthroughs in fintech. These events will help broaden their horizons in terms of career progression and help your finance team think ahead in terms of using technology to advance and automate.
6. Remind Your Finance Team of On-going Training
Your finance team's success is directly proportional to the degree to which it embraces a culture of continuous improvement. Encourage the members of your team to take an active role in their own professional development and to always be on the lookout for new learning opportunities on a consistent basis. This may involve establishing objectives, keeping tabs on one's progress, and soliciting comments from others.
By actively encouraging your team to learn new skills and implement new ideas and strategies, you are demonstrating to them that you don’t expect them to know everything and that a learning curve is completely normal and all part of the job. This also helps to create a warm and welcoming workplace, open to new ideas, thoughts and techniques.
So if you’re looking to combat a high staff turnover, and minimise work-related stress, remind your finance team that it’s OK to learn new skills and make mistakes at first, especially when a new technology is being implemented.
7. Invest in Technology and Tools for Transformation
Finally, we come to invest in technology and digital tools. By making this initial investment as a business, you can empower your finance team with the tools they need to automate simple tasks and transform their personal performance. This will, in turn, make their job a whole lot easier, minimise the risk of silly mistakes and human error, and also help your team more easily adopt new technology in the future to increase efficiency and performance overall.
Digital skills will increasingly become a key part of their work, and so early adoption of innovative technology is essential.
So there you have it! 7 ways to upskill finance teams and encourage consistent training and development for your in-house employees. And it’s got to be said that a combination of different approaches to improve the skills of your finance team will help you to future-proof your business.
Building a well-trained and highly talented finance team is one of the most valuable things you can do as a company, and this enables you to have a capable finance department able to handle the demands of today’s rapidly changing marketplace. As long as you follow these guidelines and put them into practice, you can proactively invest in the professional growth of the key players within your finance team. Increase efficiency, lower your risk of human error and combat a high staff turnover. Remember, knowledge is power!