Experienced financial officers and solid underlying systems are critical factors for Australian companies seeking to achieve growth in a rapidly evolving economy, a new survey conduct on behalf of finance solution provider BlackLine has found.
Sixty-three per cent of respondents said having sound financial practice systems is the most important requirement for well-managed economic growth, while 57 per cent said having a sound understanding of finances and business systems was key.
The Australian results were similar to an international survey also conducted on behalf of BlackLine, with 60 per cent of respondents from the United Kingdom, France and the United States believing having sound financial practices was a core ingredient for business growth.
When it comes to the most important skills needed to develop a business, people management skills topped the list at 61 per cent, followed by having a strong understanding of future finance needs (42 per cent), marketing skills (41 per cent), sales capability (41 per cent), and having a strong understanding of figures (37 per cent).
Australians also feel that their Chief Financial Officers could be playing a bigger role – 36 per cent said the CFO could be more involved in improving business performance, compared with only 17 per cent of international respondents.
When times in business get tough, finance professionals are also in demand. When asked who they would rather have running their organisation during times of economic recession, 42 per cent of Australian respondents said they would prefer to have an ex-finance chief in the role, while 19 per cent said they would want an ex-accountant, and only 17 per cent a marketing person.
“The surveys clearly show the important role that finance professionals, and the systems that support them, play within organisations around the world,” said Todd Hunt, vice president and general manager – Asia Pacific, BlackLine.
He said CFOs and accountants are seen as a steadying force during shifting economic conditions.