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Financial Professionals

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What Skills Do Today’s Financial Professionals Need to Succeed?

Video Published by CGMA Magazine

Video Transcribed by Glenford S. Robinson

Article Written by Glenford S. Robinson

Financial Professionals Must Master These Skills

Our theme on this website is to show our members and visitors how to become wealthy. So, it is fitting for us to include one very important way that people become wealthy, and that way is becoming a financial professional. The title of the video states that financial professionals need to possess and master certain skills in order for them to achieve success.

The video consists of three speakers.

The Speakers in the video are: Speaker 1:

Steve Player, CPA, CGMA,

North American Program Director,

Beyond Budgeting Round Table

Speaker 2:

Bob Paladino, CPA

Managing Partner, Bob Paladino & Associates

Speaker 3:

Donny Shimamoto, CPA/CITP, CGMA

CEO Intraprise TechKnowledgies

What are the skills needed to be mastered by financial professionals?

The skills that need to be mastered by financial professionals are analytical, comprehension, market research, and communication:

According to Speaker 1 (Steve Player), “you need the analytically curious person in terms of what’s out there. You need the people who are engaged in trying to understand things at a systematic level, understanding how parts work together and understand how policies and procedures drive the results of that.”

Mr. Player, continued by saying that “you need people that are great at market research, and understanding the customers. Why does a customer buy from you? What is it really, they are seeing? So, a lot of things are surveys and analysis to be able to understand that, and you need people that are great communicators. At the end of the day, it doesn’t do any good if you can’t find ways to communicate. And the most thing you need is, you need the people that are change-ready. By that, I mean very adaptable—able to operate in different environments, and the more change-ready people are,” the better able they are to operate in different environments.

“That is why I have a lot of encouragement when it comes to the new generation. I think they are bombarded with so much change that they come tarnished-change-ready. And the challenge is, how do we capture that and hold on to that? So that as they get older, they don’t ossify into a rigid way.

And if we have those things and can apply them, we have to redefined the jobs that they tackle because they don’t want to fit in the old roles, but will we be able to give them a flexible way of supporting the business?” said Mr. Player.

Speaker 2 (Bob Paladino), took up where Mr. Player left off by saying that “An understanding of predictive analytics, some call it big data, I call it predictive analytics where they are not only able to conduct planning and budgeting activities, but fully understand; what is it that, the data is telling them? And what kind of insights can be mined from that data; and furthermore, how can we forecast in a more intelligent way using a lot more of those indicators?

The problem with the traditional finance function is that we rely on financial indicators, which by definition are lagging indicators. So, a new person coming in would have a kind of tuning fork, tuned into–what are the leading indicators or drivers of value; so that they can start to predict value that much more accurately within acceptable ranges. So, that’s one skill. The second skill, I believe each finance person needs to spend time in the field.

They need to actually understand the core operation of the company. So, it’s more operations finance, not the traditional manageable reporting aspect of finance. If they for example, were in a biopharmaceutical company, and spend time in the business unit, in research and development or new product development, sales and marketing for that matter, and support the field organization when they rotated back into say, the corporate finance function, they’d be that much more skilled in terms of understanding the core operation of the business.”

Speaker 3 (Donny Shimamoto), voiced his views on the topic by stating that “as finance professionals, we really like to focus on finance, accounting, GAP, basically transactions. So, as we look beyond finance, and we want to start really support these business units, we really need to start getting more leadership skill, more of the soft skills. How do I communicate, educate, and train other managers to understand what I understand? And then, how do I then take what they are going to tell me? How they operate? How their businesses actually operate? And how do I model that? Those are probably the biggest ones, leadership and communication, and then the more technical modelling, understanding data and how information flows.”


Youtube Video: CGMA MAGAZINE “What skills do today’s finance professionals need to succeed,” “Financial Professionals Must Master These Skills,” Published by CGMA, on Feb 10, 2014,, Link:

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