Stack up These Skills to Become a Better Controller and Finance Manager

Oct 19, 2023

You’re likely keenly aware of this, but being an effective and sought-after finance manager requires a unique set of skills. In a role that is key to the success of any organization, the individual needs to possess a blend of specialized knowledge in accounting as well as aspects of managerial and leadership skills that go beyond a strong grasp of numbers. Are you a new finance manager, or aspiring to move into that position? Then you might want to consider refining some of these skills.

Analytical Skills – you’ve crunched the numbers, what’s next?

It’s fairly simple to collect a mass pile of information to create impressive looking spreadsheets, but are you effectively, efficiently and thoroughly analyzing all that information to produce useful insights? Honing your analytical skills – your ability to interpret data accurately, detect patterns, and make dependable decisions based on these strong observations – is a crucial step that will enable you to add value to your organization.

Here are some seminars that will help you hone those analytical skills:
Advanced Budgeting Techniques
Advanced Financial Statement Analysis
Beyond Budgeting Techniques
Budgeting and Forecasting Tools and Techniques
Excel Financial Models and Analysis
Introduction to Strategic Budgeting and Forecasting

Risk Management – the lower the risk, the higher the reward

There’s no way to completely eliminate all risks to an organization. But part of a modern finance manager’s role is to be aware of potential risks and then minimize the possible fallouts resulting from these risks. As new technology and shifting work trends proliferate the employment landscape, CFOs are increasingly required to take on a more strategic role in risk management. This results in a cascading requirement on their finance managers to do the same.

Be confident in your risk management fundamentals and stay on top of new potential threats:
A Concise Understanding of Governance, Risk and Compliance Programs - A Critical Success Factor
A Practical and Risk-Based Roadmap to ESG Compliance
Enterprise Risk Management Fundamentals
Fraud Risk Management
Managing Risk in Small Organizations - Fundamentals
Strategic Management Certificate Program - Risk Management and Governance

Creative thinking and innovation – repetition is not always your friend

As accountants, repetitive tasks and procedures are sometimes just part of the job. And while fixed processes are naturally necessary in the accounting space, hesitancy to explore new ideas can create barriers to problem solving. But keep in mind that the world has advanced rapidly over the last few years - being open to how evolving technologies and thought processes can transform the finance function will present new opportunities for you and your organization. By creating a culture of innovation, you can also keep your team ahead of the curve – while your organization may not necessarily be adopting AI, machine learning, big data, or cloud based solutions tomorrow, an open and creative culture will increase the likelihood of such transitions being embraced, properly prepared for, and successfully deployed in the future.

Discover how creative thinking works:
3 Ways Digital Transformation is Reinventing Accounting
Creativity and Innovation (Archived Webinar)
Making Question-asking Your Superpower (Video On-Demand)
PD Nexus: Business & Innovation Insights (In-Person)
TGIF: Transform Grow Innovate in Finance (Archived Webinar)
Wiring Your Brain for High Impact Leadership

Communication & Interpersonal Skills – it’s not just all talk

Your role as a finance manager will often require you to communicate tasks and build relationships with a team – bad communication and presentation will almost always lead to misunderstandings and time-wasters, while good communication will often produce a well-oiled team that performs collaboratively and efficiently. Similarly, your ability to handle challenging interpersonal situations positively will go a long way towards ensuring that your team functions smoothly. Communication skills are also essential in conducting favourable negotiations and delivering impactful presentations.

Here are some ways to improve your communication and interpersonal skills:
Communicating Effectively Under Pressure
Communicating with Influence
Correcting Employee Problem Behaviour
Effective Presentation and Public Speaking Skills Workshop for Accountants
Essential Communication Skills
Presentation Skills for Finance Professionals and Executives that Make an Impact

Leadership & Teamwork – put together a good team and then trust them

Transitioning from your role as a professional expert to actually leading a team can be a serious challenge. Many of us are at least aware of the basic traits of effective leaders, but we don’t always know the why’s, when’s, and how’s. Becoming a truly effective leader starts from understanding yourself and your leadership style, then building upon your leadership capabilities from there. Discover what true delegation and empowerment look like, explore how to become a more inspirational leader capable of coaching and mentoring others to fulfil their potential, and learn about elements of good versus bad feedback to elevate performance management. Consider how to get the best out of your team by building a leadership brand. You can also listen to our recent episode of Coffee Chats with CPABC as Laura Villacrusis, senior consultant with Kwela Leadership, discusses what makes a high performing team member.

Explore these topics to help you build your leadership repertoire:
Building Your Leadership Brand
Employee Delegation, Engagement, and Empowerment
Giving and Receiving Effective Feedback
Leading Professional Teams - Successfully Transitioning from Professional Expert to Team Leader
Leading Ethical Teams
Managing Change and Transformation
What Do People Want? Motivating Yourself and Others