The labor market is treasury’s top risk, but aligning talent with business needs is its No. 4 priority. Is that a problem?
It may not shock anyone that treasurers say a tightening labor market is the top risk they face this year (see chart), according to the January 2022 NeuGroup Member Agenda Survey. More intriguing: the same treasurers rank aligning the skills of their team members with business needs just fourth among their top objectives. No. 1 on that list: collaborating with business partners to drive performance.
- Another data point to consider in assessing treasury’s view of the talent challenge: inadequate skills and talent also ranked fourth on respondents’ list of biggest obstacles to achieving their objectives; inadequate technology infrastructure ranked No.1 (see chart).
- “There may be a disconnect between labor market risks and the urgency of ensuring that treasury teams have the right people to achieve their aggressive goals,” said Nilly Essaides, NeuGroup’s managing director of Groups, Research and Insight. “Finance, as it has in the past, may be underestimating the importance of talent development to its success.”
- Treasury’s ability to transform into a more strategic business partner, Ms. Essaides added, depends on whether teams possess the right talent and skill sets to talk to the business in its language, communicate effectively, think critically, provide insights and tell stories.
The tech obstacle. The success of treasury’s ability to add strategic value depends not only on talent management, but how soon it overcomes the obstacles of insufficient technology infrastructure and a lack of system integration (No. 2) and achieves its No. 3 top priority, accelerating digital transformation.
- For example, process automation and integration, achieved through building a stronger tech stack, is critical for creating capacity to address higher-value tasks and improve accuracy and control, Ms. Essaides said. And system integration allows treasury to “reduce friction in the flow of information and data, saving time and improving treasury’s ability to curate relevant data to support decision-making.”
- It’s also important to recognize that adopting better technology does not necessarily mean the loss of people. “The thing with automation in general is that it’s not just about replacing human activities,” Ms. Essaides said.
- “Some of the simple first-level automations are exactly about that, but to be really transformational, technology needs to augment what people do in order to support decisions, through advanced analytics and machine learning, for example.”