Posted by Heidi Schwartz
Business analysis isn’t just for business analysts anymore. In a recent Robert Half Management Resources survey, the majority (61 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said expertise in business analytics, such as business intelligence and data mining, is mandatory for some or all of their accounting and finance employees.
Companies are providing a number of resources for professionals to sharpen their skills in this area, the research found, with in-house training topping the list. Other tools firms make available to their accounting and finance teams include mentorships, reimbursement for external courses and the opportunity to work with a consultant.
The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, a provider of accounting and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 2,100 CFOs from a random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. markets.
CFOs were asked, “How important are business analytics skills, such as business intelligence, for your accounting and finance employees?” Their responses:
“The ability to identify and interpret key data trends has gone from useful to mandatory in accounting and finance,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. “Firms increasingly rely on their financial teams to deliver strategic guidance and data-driven recommendations. This demand will only accelerate as companies are able to tap into greater volumes of information.”
McDonald added that for those who already have strong business analytics abilities, it’s important to maintain them. “Business analytics is a rapidly changing area that is constantly experiencing new demands from companies. Staying current with emerging data and software trends and continuing industry-related training is career insurance,” he said.