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Clare Crook, finance director at Force24, delves into what it takes to marry budgets with digital developments – and the importance of the two working in-sync.

It’s easy to think about employees being stuck behind a desk juggling numbers and spreadsheets when considering the role of working in finance. But there’s so much more to this important profession, especially when embedded within the technology industry.

To be a success in such a fast-paced sector, finance professionals have to be able to think on their feet and react swiftly. They must also be strong communicators and the gatekeeper to the crucial make-up of a digital business – from forecasting and building projection models, to looking ahead and inspiring further growth processes.

Online developments have created workspaces that are exciting places to be in, and there’s so many more opportunities made possible thanks to technology, no matter what the speciality of the employee.

And, auditing is very much a part of the evolution of a modern-day workplace, plus a department people need to embrace if they are to make a success of marrying it up well with technology.

There’s great news here too because the analytical side of finance and the creativity of technology can work in-sync – so, as a result, financial professionals should possess skills that are very transferable, and desirable, in the tech space. But what are the true qualities to really home in on?

Able to adapt to change

It’s not just about implementing a process and completing projects from start to finish for people working in finance – a modern-day employee understands there’s so much more to the role now.

They have to be agile, ready to embrace change, and prepare organisations for financial flux during the unpredictable times the tech industry is accustomed to. Being part of this sector requires a dynamic individual to steer the ship swiftly – with control and clear judgement – to respond to what the market instantly craves.

Plan, plan, plan!

Being able to bring analytical skills to the fore means businesses can greatly utilise their finance department to effectively forecast for the often erratic nature that comes with technological developments – and work on ways to overcome impending budgetary obstacles.

Having the capabilities to produce processes which outline how the company can operate successfully, in a rapidly-changing industry, further cements the crucial position a financial employee holds.

Not only that, they are the key to cash flow and budgeting – a huge factor in how tech firms take on new clients, and how often. This department must also consider what’s needed for retained clients and the management of ad-hoc projects to plan so the firm can continue to generate much-needed leads.

Staying ahead of the curve

Within a fast-moving industry, decisions must not stall any processes – they need to be swift and strong.

Effective, financially-based judgement calls can help ensure a business always moves forwards, which can be crucial to survive, and thrive, in the ever-evolving technology sector.

If an organisation becomes stagnant because it’s unable to react well to digital developments, that could be a huge – almost impossible – mountain to overcome when they’re desperately trying to recover lost time and resources.

Strong communication skills

Not only does a finance professional have to be an approachable ‘go-between’ for staff and clients, they should also be personable, knowledgeable of the sector, and be able to offer clear advice and support throughout.

Luckily, this is where technology can really come into its own because not everything has to be done face-to-face for customers to feel they are getting a rounded experience. With personalised processes, such as marketing automation, finance can use the tools for internal and external communication, track conversations and ensure the organisation’s messaging and audit updates, are accurate – and distributed – in a controlled, humanised way.

The endeavour to upskill

In today’s modern workforces, there seems to be a real urgency to keep learning and developing to stay up to date with developments – thanks to the impact technology has truly made across every walk of life.

That shouldn’t be any different for financial staff either. If there’s a willingness to develop skillsets and become engrained in how technology can help with training, that can be a pot of gold for any organisation.

It’s vitally important for employees to understand the industry they work in – even if it doesn’t directly link with their primary skill-set – and the urge to progress can provide a real benefit to them, plus their business and its clients.

Clare CrookAbout the author

Clare Crook is a Financial Controller for Force24 – she is responsible for the financial activities such as planning, cash management and reporting – as well as forecasting and building project models for the company.