According to one study, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. Luckily, experts predict the finance function will become more impactful and integrated throughout the business than ever before. 

So, what can finance professionals do today to be marketable in the future? Here are seven ways to get started. 

1 Connect with cross-functional colleagues 

In a fast-paced, data-rich world, innovative partnerships with other business functions will be key. Business leaders have taken note of how accuracy and efficiency increase when diverse teams tackle challenges. So, you can expect cross-functional integration to be the norm in the future. Get ahead by building your network and collaboration skills now. 

How to prepare:

  • Volunteer for (or start) cross-functional projects—working with colleagues in sales, IT operations and other functions. 
  • Reach out to people outside your business unit to learn more about their work and insights and find ways to collaborate.  

2 Get immersed in data and technology 

Finance and accounting professionals are quickly becoming the crucial, strategic link between the business and the data. Today, finance often reviews and reports on data. However, as traditional finance work is automated, organizations will increasingly depend on financial experts to provide foresight and insight—using data to provide advice on where to go next. Finally, as stewards of the data, the finance team will likely control data governance, working with data scientists and technologists to design, configure and maintain systems. 

How to prepare:

  • Gain exposure to as much technology and systems as possible—evaluate new systems, review old systems, test upgrades, etc. 
  • Look for opportunities to learn about data management and data science online and in your organization. 

3 Learn to love learning at work 

A “learning mindset” is one of the top attributes that employees will need to succeed in the future. Why? The speed of change is transforming organizations into “learn-and-work” ecosystems—where on-the-job learning is constant and critical. 

How to prepare:

  • Make learning new skills a career goal and part of your performance review. 
  • Do independent research on trends, technology and processes that interest you. 

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4 Brush up your communication skills 

If you’re used to working head down in a delivery role or accounting position—and you’re not entirely comfortable with communicating results to the business—you’ll need to upskill quickly. Remote work has made finance/accounting more egalitarian, leading to more visibility for everyone in the department.  

How to prepare: 

  • Instead of just providing “the numbers,” learn to tell the story behind the numbers. 
  • Improve listening, speaking, writing and presentation skills. 
  • Be ready to answer questions about your work and ask stakeholders what kind of information they would like to see in the future.  

5 Strengthen strategic thinking and problem-solving skills 

Employers are looking to finance and accounting people to be observant, insightful and innovative. Working on your strategic thinking skills will help you identify opportunities, make better decisions at work, and achieve your personal goals.  

How to prepare:

  • Learn how to use data to spot developing patterns and trends as (or before) they happen. 
  • Look for innovative solutions to complex business problems.  
  • Provide informed perspectives during strategic planning initiatives. 

6 Be resilient  

The Harvard Business Review defines resilience as “the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity.” Employees who are resilient and can foster resiliency in the organization are going to be in high demand from here on out.  

How to prepare: 

  • Be a team player! This helps build trust as well as allowing others to succeed. 
  • Be authentic—align your actions with your values and beliefs. 
  • Consider setbacks as a learning or innovation opportunity, not a failure.  

7 Forge your own career path 

In an age where versatility and skills acquisition are paramount, following the traditional career trajectory isn’t necessary for success. Focus on cultivating a resume that demonstrates flexibility, proven talents and success in a wide variety of challenging assignments. If you can’t get the variety and work experience you need at one company, don’t be afraid to move on. 

How to prepare:

  • Create a wish list for the kinds of projects you’d like on your resume and discuss it with your current boss. 
  • Be open to moving to a new division or company to keep your career moving forward. 
  • Consider contingent interim work, where you can choose projects that interest you and get varied experience in a shorter amount of time.  

The future of work starts now 

Even though no one knows what the future holds, we can be certain that the workforce is going to significantly transform over the next few years, and we’ll all be impacted by the shifting landscape. By acquiring new skills and experiences, you’ll be ready to meet whatever challenges the future workforce has in store. 

If you're looking for opportunities beyond traditional roles, Korn Ferry Interim can help. Our interim recruiting experts connect finance pros with meaningful contract-based work opportunities, ranging from accounting experts to CFOs at the c-suite level.

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