How demand for insight is inverting the finance function

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The most data-driven companies are turning the finance function on its head. Literally. They’re adding fewer people to run day-to-day operations and far more who can digitize the business and manage the opportunities and risks of emerging technologies.

Our analysis of 1M+ finance function job postings shows strong demand for insight-based roles across the US job market.

A typical finance function has few insights roles

Most companies have an overall finance function that forms a pyramid shape. Much of the headcount is in the base of the pyramid, where the day-to-day functioning of the business happens. These transactional roles include payables and receivables, payroll, and junior accounting roles. Fewer, but a sizeable amount of staff, focus on reporting and compliance. These include accounting, internal audit, compliance management and financial management roles.

And fewer still make up the top of the pyramid in strategic insight roles, such as business insights or risk consulting roles that propel the business forward.

 

Digital demand is shifting the mix of talent

Greater use of analytics, cloud, blockchain, and process automation mean companies are looking for different skills, potentially upending how we think about the core of the organization.

A real-time look at the US skills market — what companies ask for in finance-related job descriptions — shows that demand is shifting. In 2018, insights roles were in demand as much as other functional roles.

Digital-first companies hire differently

Hiring from digital-first companies, including more than 130 Unicorns, plus Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix, show a different story.

Their finance functions serve similar stakeholders, but they’re achieving their goals with a talent mix that turns the conventional pyramid upside down.

They’re moving faster than the overall market to add more insight-based roles. And they’re posting more often for candidates with skills and competencies to help drive analytics engines, including skills related to automation, machine learning, data visualization, and natural language processing.

Why it matters

Every company — not just digital-first companies — needs insight to solve problems, create unique experiences, deliver efficiencies, and accelerate business growth. The workforce is critical to each of those goals.

Whatever the shape of your finance function today, a workforce plan can help you identify and plan for the talent you need ahead of time. You can recruit from your existing workforce, hire new skills profiles for emerging roles, and avoid costly skills mismatches that prevent you from moving the business forward.

A workforce plan will help you see the talent you’ll need ahead of time, so you can secure the right skills for the right roles.

Contact us

Bob Woods

Partner, Finance Transformation Leader, PwC US

Danielle Phaneuf

PwC's Strategy&, Principal, PwC US

Scott Moyer

Managing Director, Advisory, PwC US

Bhushan Sethi

Principal, Joint Global Leader, People and Organization, PwC US

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