The Path to Progress: 3 Approaches to Finance Leadership
In 2023, finance leaders have the same goal: take their team, and their company, to new heights. While each opportunity looks different depending on their location, industry, and the state of the economy, there’s the same underlying message: the time to spark change is now.
In our latest report, the 2023 Finance Leaders Survey, over 700 finance leaders in healthcare, construction, higher education, real estate, professional services, and manufacturing across North America and Europe weighed in on:
- The approaches they take when thinking about the future of finance
- The top priorities for finance leaders this year
- The challenges they’re facing and what it means for their teams
- The steps they’re taking to take finance to the next level
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to leadership. And there is no straight path to get there either. It’s up to you – finance leaders – to blaze your own path forward and lean on your skills, knowledge, and innovation to light the way.
3 approaches to finance leadership
We shared three leadership approaches with survey respondents and observed which one finance leaders identified with the most, depending on their goals and their company’s unique needs.
Let’s dive into what each leadership approach looks like and what it means for you.
1. The Innovator
Are you ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting new tools? Do you like to introduce new ways of doing things? Do you take what’s already there and build on it?
You’re an Innovator. Innovators spark new ideas and look for efficient and effective ways to generate data-driven insights. Innovators forge a path forward for finance with their skills, knowledge, and initiative as a guide.
2. The Visionary
Do you see something before it’s even there? Can you transform a vision into a position and inspire your team to make it a reality? Do you talk about revolutionizing your finance function and driving digital transformation?
You’re a Visionary. Visionaries are here to ignite ambitions, revolutionize the way we work, and position finance as a strategic contributor to the business. Visionaries are always one step ahead with their brilliance lighting the way.
3. The Realist
Do you live in the here and now? Are you focused on fixing today’s problems for a better tomorrow? Do you maintain the status quo while balancing new challenges as they come up?
You’re a Realist. Realists live in the moment with a desire to illuminate the way forward and support their team through any challenges that lie ahead. Realists are here to lead through uncertainty with success as their north star.
Final destination: Progress
Each of these leadership approaches has its place in finance, and you may take on more than one during your career to address the needs of your organization.
Progress isn’t linear, and neither is the path you take to get there. Leadership has ebbs and flows, and you can use the approaches as a guide to help you reach your destination.
What else is on the path to progress?
According to the survey, most companies are performing well above their targets. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t looming uncertainty.
There’s no doubt that finance leaders are facing external pressures. Inflation, rising energy prices, a recession, and industry talent shortages are a reality. But finance leaders are looking down the road to find innovative ways to increase their efficiency, generate insights, and make progress.
In fact, if we look a little deeper, the survey says…
- 43% said finding innovative ways to be efficient and generate insights with their existing processes is a focus this year
- 31% said ensuring the finance department is elevated to play a key role as a strategic contributor to the business is a focus this year
- 25% said preparing and bracing the organization for challenging times ahead is a focus this year
It’s clear, no matter the pressures leaders face, growth of the finance function is a priority. And leaders are taking the steps they need to get there, looking to automation, agility, and technology to elevate their teams.
It’s your time to shine
Get the insights you need—and the data to back it up—in our 2023 Finance Leaders Survey. Learn more about what finance leaders across industries and around the globe are planning and how you too can spark change in your organization.