Changing Business Skills for the Future of Finance
Corporate finance is evolving. Beyond just managing budgets, today’s finance leaders are involved with building strategies for expansion and innovation. One such strategy is using technology to manage corporate finances and analyze data. According to a study from the McKinsey Global Institute, 40% of finance activities—like revenue management and accounting—can be fully automated. New software programs abound for taking advantage of larger amounts of data.
To remain current and advance in this growing field, finance professionals can hone their business skills and finance knowledge through an advanced business degree. This guide explores current trends affecting the future of finance and the required skills for pursuing advanced roles in finance.
What Does the Future of Finance Look Like?
Key trends, driven largely by new technologies, are shaping the financial aspect of the business world. Major finance trends include process automation, big data, blockchain, and agile collaboration.
Emerging technologies—like cloud-based enterprise resource planning software and machine learning platforms—automate and refine routine finance processes. With tasks like budgeting and forecasting automated through technology, finance leaders can become more proactively involved with problem-solving, strategizing, and optimizing operations. Finance leaders also typically oversee automation technologies to ensure seamless operations and timely reports while answering to executive requests for financial data.
With more data produced from more sources, companies need technologies that effectively process high volumes of information to deliver valuable insights into current and future financial performance. Finance leaders can find the right technology to mine this rich data and interpret findings to make corrective actions and optimize plans that supports a stronger finance strategy. They also can leverage advanced analytics and predictive capabilities to propose strategies for the entire organization.
Blockchain is the revolutionary technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin that’s poised to transform the finance industry. Blockchain eliminates third parties like banks and government agencies so companies can make transactions through a globally-accessible digital ledger. This ledger exists as coded data maintained by a collective of people and accessed through cryptographic keys. If any piece of data in the chain is changed or corrupted, the whole chain is rendered invalid. Without the need to involve third parties, transactions are faster, more transparent, and less vulnerable to hacking and fraud. According to Deloitte, 74% of executives across seven countries said that they see a “compelling business case” for adopting blockchain technology.
Future finance leaders will serve as strategists and decision-makers and collaborate with other company leaders and departments such as human resources and sales. They also will join forces with new departments focused on data science, blockchain technology, and robotics.
The Skills Needed for Finance’s Future
Finance professionals need a new set of business skills to adapt to emerging trends. Traditionally, finance leaders needed knowledge in building financial reports, setting budgets, and forecasting financials. While this background is still important, finance leaders of the future must understand how to use emerging technologies, including new software applications on cloud-based platforms, to perform these tasks. Using emerging technologies, they can automate and simplify routine processes and generate valuable data. Finance leaders also must learn how to identify potential problems with real-time data and use analytics to generate insights for operations throughout the enterprise.
As catalysts of change, finance leaders will be responsible for leading teams, communicating ideas, and managing new roles, such as data analysts and coders. They also may manage teams across the globe as technology enables individuals to work remotely.
How Norwich University Helps Students Excel in Business
Norwich University’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program strengthens essential skills for the future of finance professionals. Designed to foster a new generation of business leaders, this program offers concentrations in Finance, Organizational Leadership, and Project Management.
Core courses include:
- Strategic Resources Management. Explores how to manage a company’s human, information, and organizational capital. These skills help finance professionals lead teams through organizational and cultural change.
- Managerial Finance. Discusses ways to efficiently manage corporate assets. Expertise in this area is essential for future finance executives who allocate funds, create valuation models, and build financial plans.
- Strategic Marketing and Operations Management. Covers the integration of marketing and operations in an organization and how these functions change throughout the product life cycle. With this knowledge, finance leaders can more effectively collaborate across departments and make informed decisions for the organization as a whole.
Courses in the Finance concentration include:
- Multinational Business Finance. Breaks down the differences between handling domestic and international corporate finance. These skills are essential for finance leaders who want to operate in a growing global market.
- Investments and Portfolio Management. Explores the characteristics and theories behind financial investing. With this knowledge, finance professionals can effectively combine securities into portfolios and use diversification to increase revenue and minimize risk.
- Strategic Management in Finance. Discusses how to apply the various concepts and tools associated with contemporary finance. Studies provide a foundation for managing corporate finances, developing strategies, and building analytical skills.
These skills can complement those acquired through an undergraduate degree, preparing students for an advanced career in corporate finance.
Preparing Leaders for the Future of Finance
For 200 years, Norwich University has graduated some of the finest business leaders in the world. Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the online Master of Business Administration degree teaches students future finance trends and important critical and creative thinking skills needed to navigate and shape the future of finance. Graduates have moved into roles as CFO, CEO, and director of finance at organizations including Bank of America, Fidelity Investments, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Memo to the CFO: Get in Front of Digital Finance—or Get Left Back, McKinsey & Company
Preparing for the Future of Finance—Now, The Wall Street Journal
5 Trends Redefining Finance in 2019, TechFunnel
Top 7 Digital Transformation Trends in Financial Services for 2019, Forbes
How Blockchain Is Changing Finance, Harvard Business Review
Blockchain and the Future of Finance, Forbes
Unleashing Blockchain in Finance, Deloitte
Finance Job Skills, Houston Chronicle
The 10 Vital Skills You Will Need for the Future of Work, Forbes
Master of Business Administration, Norwich University