Greater China CFOs Call for Improved Leadership Skills

Top challenges most commonly faced by the finance function in Greater China over the past five years include driving top and bottom line growth (44%), tightened business compliance and regulations (37%) and changes in customers’ expectations(33%), reports Robert Walters.

The specialist recruiter’s survey coincides with the launch of its inaugural
‘Robert Walters Greater China CFO Report’
, which aims to help chief financial officers (CFOs) understand the relationship between talent management and finance function effectiveness.

The report, entitled
‘Using Effective Talent Management Strategies To Excel The Finance Function’
, surveyed over 580 CFOs across China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The study examines the challenges faced by the finance function during its transformation to become a strategic partner to the business, and offers recommendations on how CFOs can recruit and retain the best finance talent by tailoring development programmes according to employees’ traits and needs.

“Our research demonstrates that businesses are having very different expectations towards the finance function,” said Matthew Bennett, managing director – Greater China, Robert Walters. “It is now expected to perform high-level analysis and play a part in supporting corporate strategy. The finance function needs to be re-designed in order to have the right structure and talent in place to meet the changing challenges.”

According to the survey, 21% of CFOs found identifying and developing future leaders the top talent management challenge their organisation may face in the coming year. When assessing the potential of the finance talent to be groomed into senior management roles, soft skills such as communication, problem-solving and leadership came top of the list (26%).

However, finance talent will need to improve on their soft skills, as 38% of CFOs singled out leadership skills as the area they would like to see the most improvement in their direct reports, followed by communication skills (22%) and strategic planning (17%).

Bennett added: “The finance function nowadays needs professionals with a combination of strong technical expertise and soft skills, but such talent is often hard to find. CFOs need to set out a thorough plan to attract and retain their top players who have shown the potential to be groomed to ensure the development of a sustainable finance function.”

The full report may be accessed


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