The study of over 200 manufacturing and distribution financial leaders also found that despite the desire to close the talent gap, economic uncertainty has forced or is expected to force almost two thirds (64%) to reduce headcount in specific roles. A lack of knowledge is the biggest challenge for finance and accounting talent and CFOs need to find ways to capture, manage, and share expertise across an organisation in training programmes to upskill for business growth.
The study reveals that in the face of these challenges, the role and power of the CFO is evolving. A significant 8 in 10 (80%) respondents agree that economic uncertainty has "significantly" elevated the importance of the CFO, and they are increasingly expected to be more involved in business planning and strategy moving forwards.
Already, mature companies are exploring the possibility of CFOs taking on additional responsibilities, such as procurement or risk management too. The evolving landscape underscores the importance for CFOs to prioritise their own upskilling, as well as the upskilling initiatives for the wider businesses, to lead teams through these changes effectively.
"In light of economic uncertainties, the conventional responsibilities of CFOs are undergoing a significant transformation. The increased volatility in the economic landscape has heightened the significance of financial leaders, as evidenced by 80% of respondents acknowledging the imperative for CFOs to shoulder additional responsibilities, such as strategic business planning and risk management," said Joe Ayers, CFO of Epicor.
"The report provides a compelling portrayal of an expanding talent and skills gap, underscoring the urgency for CFOs to champion employee upskilling alongside their own. This proactive approach is essential as they guide their organisations towards resilience and adaptability in the ever-evolving business environment with the support of technology to transform the speed and efficiency in decision-making."
Manufacturers and distributors face an environment growing in complexity, and employees must be armed with the knowledge, tools, and technologies to learn, adapt, and innovate.
Through Epicor’s leading Industry ERP Cloud portfolio grounded in contextual business intelligence, Epicor helps organisations adopt a data-first strategy that lets them integrate internal and external data sources and interpret signals and indicators both within their business and across supply chains. In doing so, Epicor customers can gain actionable insights to optimise and automate business flows and drive time-to-value.
Visit Epicor's website for a complimentary copy of the study, and to view an on-demand webinar detailing the findings.