Finance officers need to become proactive

Finance professionals have to develop new skills and competencies Aubrey Joachim, CIMA. (SUPPLIED)

This year will see a significant change in the outlook of finance professionals as departments move quickly from being passive to proactive, Aubrey Joachim, President of Chartered Institute of Accounting Management (CIMA), told Emirates Business.

He said there would be increased focus on acquiring new skills in the areas of analysis, communications and information presentation and that the role of finance professionals in maintaining strong corporate governance could not be over-emphasised in the current economic environment.

"Finance professionals did not play enough of a role in identifying the treacherous paths that some organisations were treading which led to the economic crash. With all predictions leaning towards a revival in economic, financial and business fortunes, this year finance professionals will have to change their outlook," he said.

In the present economic environment, finance professionals can no longer play a passive role and will be exposed to numerous challenges. "Backward-looking accounting must become a thing of the past. Finance professionals must influence, direct, manage and provide input to strategy. The tools and techniques of management accounting can provide decision-making information of the highest integrity and relevance, and must be utilised," he said.

"The challenge that finance professionals face in 2010 is to either become financial historians examining old business that is done and dusted or become the finance equivalent of fitness instructors who keep organisations in a tip-top condition, resilient to the vagaries of future business cycles."

The changes require faster and better information. "As pressures increase, finance professionals may face unwelcome challenges such as having to ward off greed, impropriety and unethical demands. This is where management accountants have to be true to ethical codes laid down by membership bodies. The best professionals will be working as business partners within their organisations but this 'partnership' has its limits," he added.

New skills and competencies are required to meet fresh challenges. "New skills in analysis, communication and information presentation will be needed. Those who develop these skills and competencies will be in great demand," he added. 

 

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