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ARLINGTON, Va., January 9, 2020

Gartner Identifies Key Personas and Skills Finance Leaders Need in Their Departments in 2020

Gartner Research Lists These Emerging Competencies for Corporate Finance in the Future

Corporate finance departments are experiencing a skills gap that will stand out even more in 2020 and beyond, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. Based on a survey of more than 1,000 finance employees, Gartner has put these competencies into five categories to help CFOs and finance leaders apply this information to their own departments.

Each of the competencies fall under one of the following five employee personas: builder, doer, learner, persuader or strategist (see Figure 1). The chart shows that some skills, such as those relating to functional expertise, are already well-covered, and are less likely to be in high demand in future. On the other hand, skills relating to IT fulfillment and finance analytics are already in demand and are likely to be more so in future.

“Although it’s probably no surprise to most finance leaders that technical skills relating to data analytics, IT fulfilment and IT innovation are in short supply, it’s not time to be complacent,” says Melanie O’Brien, Vice President at Gartner. “Finance leaders should review the competencies of their current teams to understand what personas they have and where they need to build capability for the future. The more pronounced these skill gaps become, the harder the impact will be to mitigate.”

Figure 1. Finance’s Emerging Competency Gaps

Source: Gartner (January 2020)

Here is a summary of the five personas and the kind of tasks they may carry out:

Builder
The builder persona possesses skills relating to business navigation, cross-cultural awareness, social intelligence and virtual collaboration. They know how to get things done, using both formal and informal channels. They understand the nuances that drive the engagement of different types of employees (e.g. millennials and Gen Z) and champion diversity by distributing opportunities across a global team. They achieve this by connecting with others in a direct way that stimulates reactions and intelligent debate. Builders are also adept at virtual collaboration: able to set priorities, establish workflows, and monitor progress remotely.

Doer
The doer has solid cross-functional expertise and good judgement, they can balance the need for timeliness against the need for a good decision. These skills enable good problem-solving ability, they can ask the right questions and break a complex problem into simpler and more manageable tasks. In turn, this makes them good project managers, able to delegate effectively and balance multiple responsibilities. Moreover, they demonstrate a service orientation by reliably meeting deadlines, and show resilience and persistence, encouraging others to stick with a problem until it is solved.

Learner
This individual can be invaluable during times of change. They are agile, able to adapt quickly to new environments and act confidently in them. They are open to new ideas, and visibly support organizational change initiatives, and even help communicate such changes to colleagues. They enshrine principles of continuous improvement by implementing mechanisms to monitor processes for continuous quality improvements and keep up to date on industry best-practices. They tend to demonstrate entrepreneurship by suggesting changes in the department and understanding the risks and probabilities of success.

Persuader
Persuaders demonstrate a fluency with multiple business functions, allowing them to effectively communicate the ideas of one department to another. They are typically good candidates for finding meaningful insights from data analytics and are adept at the business translation required to keep such reporting finely tuned to the KPIs of the audience. They also understand evidence structuring: how to build a comprehensive body of evidence when creating insights and solutions.

Strategist
This persona excels in the areas of business coordination, IT innovation, IT fulfilment and vendor management. They easily connect finance’s multiyear plan to business objectives and can suggest useful system implementations or upgrades as a result. They are also able to build mutually beneficial relationships with IT vendors and maintain the kind of finance IT know-how that enables them to negotiate vendor contracts based on sound cost-benefit analysis.

“These five personas may not apply to every finance department, but they do provide a template for finance leaders to think about what types of people and skills they will need in the future, and compare that to what they have available now,” said Ms. O’Brien. “This lays the groundwork for building the finance function of the future.”

Gartner clients can read more in Finance 2020: Emerging Finance Competencies.

Nonclients can read articles on this topic at Finance Team Optimization.

About the Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference
CFOs and senior finance executives seeking to learn more from Gartner research insights on the trends that will shape finance, company performance and personal leadership are invited to attend the Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference on June 2-3, 2020, in Phoenix. Follow news and updates for the conference on Twitter at #GartnerFinance.

About the Gartner Finance Practice
The Gartner Finance practice helps senior finance executives meet their top priorities. Gartner offers a unique breadth and depth of content to support clients’ individual success and deliver on key initiatives that cut across finance functions to drive business impact. Learn more at https://www.gartner.com/en/finance/finance-leaders. Follow news and updates from the Gartner Finance Practice on Twitter and LinkedIn and by following the hashtag #GartnerFinance.

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and an objective resource for more than 15,000 enterprises in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.

To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit gartner.com.

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