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HR's role in financial planning: 'Supportive but minimal'

HR's role in financial planning: 'Supportive but minimal'

Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd

CFOs have revealed how they’re planning to turn economic uncertainty into profitability and growth – and its revealed HR are to have a supportive role in financial planning.

Despite four out of ten CFOs planning to prioritise profitability and company growth, research by Robert Half Management Resources has shown that many financial leaders are planning to do this via digitisation and specialist recruitment.

Results showed that 40% of CFOs are putting the implementation of new technologies first; whilst a third of CFOs and FDs are planning to use temporary and interim professionals for business transformation.

Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director at Robert Half explained to us that CFOs need to be increasingly forward-thinking: “CFOs are focused on seeking out new commercial opportunities that support growth, which means they need to embrace the potential that emerging technologies offer. The pace of change continues to accelerate rapidly and digital transformation is set to fundamentally change businesses.”

With a third of CFOs planning to use interims, Ashley Whipman, Senior Business Director at Robert Half, explained, exclusively to HR Grapevine, the crucial role HR are set to play, as specialist hires are taken on.

He said: “The management of HR should be to allow line manager and businesses to make their own decisions as these [interims] aren’t permanent staff. They need to be looked at as individuals that provide a service – with HR’s involvement to ensure that whatever parameters are required by the business are in process.

“HR’s involvement should be supportive but minimal.”

And as the CFO role continues to evolve – with an ever-expanding remit including recruitment and future-proofing directives – senior finance staff are beginning to feel the brunt.

36% of finance directors highlighted their increasing workloads as an issue with 28% citing budgeting and accounting as the biggest challenge for 2017.

Whipman continued: “CFOs are now very much at the forefront of decisions being made in the business. They need to make sure they can manage workloads and manage performance but they also need to think about the individuals and the way employees feel.

“That’s where the use of interim managers can perhaps bring that fresh perspective from external view, be able to soften the workload and be able to show, that from commercial business decisions, there can be advantages of creating a really good work life environment.

“It’s not just about people – it’s about understanding the environment they’re working in.”