Canadian CFOs more conservative than global counterparts around skill development

Canadian finance leaders also say female executive role models are key

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(Toronto, 1 February 2017) – A new EY report reveals that Canadian CFOs are more conservative and risk-averse in their approach to skills development, compared to their global counterparts. 63% of Canadian CFOs favour work-shadowing or other experiential opportunities to help cultivate essential skills among the next generation of finance leaders, compared to only 35% of their global counterparts.

“Our survey finds that when it comes to developing the next generation of finance leaders, Canadian CFOs prefer training and work-shadowing programs over hands-on leadership and exposure to board-level activities,” says John Candeias, EY’s Senior Manager, Advisory Services. “In fact, more than half (53%) believe implementing a training and development program for high-potential finance talent is key, compared to only 36% of CFOs globally.”

The findings anchor EY’s latest DNA of the CFO report, which examines the evolving role of CFOs and how today’s leaders are not only carefully mapping their own career paths, but also laying the foundation for the next generation of executives.

“Now more than ever, CFOs must invest in developing new skill sets, cultivate exemplary leadership behaviours and encourage diversity, if they are going to build high-performing teams today, while equipping tomorrow’s successors,” says Candeias.

More female leaders needed in the finance function; big data remains top-of-mind

The report also reveals that the vast majority of Canadian CFOs (81%), versus 62% of global respondents, believe that empowering women leaders to be role models for junior employees is the most important strategy to increase appointments of female finance executives to CFOs.  Active sponsorship of high-potential women leaders and monitoring progress on increasing female participation within the finance function were also strategies emphasized more strongly by Canadian CFOs than those globally.

“Purposeful action by both men and women will be key to recruiting, retaining and advancing women into finance executive roles,” says Candeias.

And as Canadian businesses embrace the digital age, the role of big data and advanced analytics in strategic planning is also top-of-mind for Canadian CFOs, with nearly half (47%) naming these as critical skill areas for future leaders, compared to 39% of global counterparts.

Read the full report, The DNA of the CFO, Canadian highlights.

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