The talent challenge – driving engagement in the retained finance team

accapr —  2 September 2013 — 1 Comment

By Madelein Smit, vice president Corporate IS & S Ceva Logistics

At CEVA several years ago we embarked on a finance transformation programme which included outsourcing of certain finance processes, and we viewed this as a critical lever for change, not only transforming the finance cost base, but also helping us evolve the skill-sets of the organisation so that we had the right capabilities and talent in place across the embedded finance teams, the retained finance organisation and our outsourced relationships. There is always a balance to be struck between driving out cost across the finance organisation and ensuring you are well placed to develop and keep the appropriate talent and knowledge inside the organisation.

These developments have given a new purpose for the retained organisation and its focus is now on new capabilities such as business partnering, financial insight and ensuring appropriate management of our outsourced finance service operations – so strong relationship management is key. It’s also about being prepared for the finance organisation to ‘let go’ of previous responsibilities that have transferred to the outsourced partner. We fully recognise that the retained finance team is being asked to develop new skills because their role is re-articulated, and we also recognise their engagement is vital in driving the finance organisation of the future.

  1. Solutions – driving engagement in the retained finance team. Recognise the changed role of the retained finance team and plan for the development of new capabilities. We’ve implemented a talent management process, a mentoring process and a wide range of learning opportunities to ensure we develop the new capabilities and skills needed by the retained team. Don’t forget developing the right behaviours is key too, and proactively plan for this.
  2. Communicate, communicate, communicate. The finance transformation journey is difficult, particularly for the retained finance team which typically reduces in size and is impacted most. Having a clear communication strategy to keep retained finance staff engaged and motivated is critically important; celebrate successes publicly and make sure you have communication channels in place to acknowledge exceptional performers.
  3. Embed a culture of personal responsibility for careers too. Our people have a wide range of tools and interventions at their disposal, but we also want individuals to take their own responsibility too. One of the areas we are investigating is the encouragement of cross-border and cross-country movement, but of course as the number of roles reduces, this becomes more challenging so we have to think innovatively of how we do this and carve out opportunities for ambitious people.

This case study appeared in an ACCA report on Talent and capability in global finance functions. As part of ACCA’s qualitative research leading organisations shared their approaches. 


One response to The talent challenge – driving engagement in the retained finance team


    Finance is dying…. I mean we probably make decisions based on non-financial factors most of the time….. I rely more on ratios during buying and selling of assets and that’s it.

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