Growth and Optimization

7 Habits to Help Finance Leaders Meet Challenge of Change

SAP Concur Team |

The change and challenges come fast and furious when you are a finance leader. 

To stay on top and get ahead – of an unpredictable economy, talent shortages, and the drive for productivity – you must purposefully grow your skills to meet the growing expectations for your role. 

But knowing where to begin so you have a conscious plan instead of a reactive approach to improvement can be a challenge. In our new e-book, Seven Key Habits of Successful Finance Leaders, finance leaders share insights and approaches they have developed. 

They range from learning to get outside your comfort zone when assessing opportunities to finding and closing your skill and technology gaps. The habits vary widely but have this in common: You must be intentional about improvement, for the sake of you, your team, and your company. Together, they are habits that can help turn moments of uncertainty into moments of business confidence. 

Stay on the cutting edge of technology: 

“I create a road map of the right combination of people, processes, and technology, knowing that mix will shift over time. You can’t be afraid to change as your needs, the market, and technology adapt.” 

– Cameron White, SVP of Finance, AvidXchange

To eliminate manual tasks and raise productivity, it’s critical to stay up on the latest technology. It requires a multipronged approach: reading business papers and finance publications, monitoring networking sites, and talking up finance colleagues about technology solutions they’re using. With a clear view of what solutions can do, you can not only better discern how they can improve work and processes but also better communicate to top leadership the benefits of making the investment.  

Identify blind spots: 

“Blind spots can mean lots of things. It can mean relationships, skill sets, or how you manage your team.” 

– Brian Vance, COO & VP Market Assessment/Planning, SAP Concur 

Have an open door and get feedback from inside and outside your team. Take a hard look at technology and processes that once worked well. Assess a project after it wraps up. Seek out opportunities to learn what other teams do. Set aside time for professional development, for you and team members as well. Those are all steps you can take to eliminate blind spots and build your skills and teamwork.  

Embrace “yes”: 

“It’s a snowball effect. Once you stretch and say yes once or twice, you realize what you’re capable of. Stepping out of your comfort zone is always the hardest step.” 

– Melanie Pereira, SVP Finance, Emerald 

Instead of instinctively dismissing a project or job opportunity because it’s not in your comfort zone, give it serious consideration. That opportunity can help grow your skills and range, and it might not come again if you turn it down. A “say yes” philosophy can apply to technology, too, in that being open to new approaches and tools can get you past the “we’ve always done it that way” trap. 

Commit to continued learning: 

“It’s an existential threat if you’re not doing continuous learning. I know it can be difficult, but you have to allocate a certain amount of time on a daily basis, even if you’re just reading an article a day while having your coffee.” 

– Chris Gledhill, Independent FinTech Advisor 

Information – and learning opportunities – is everywhere. But only by taking it in from white papers, blogs, thought leaders, friends, and other sources do you develop the knowledge base to filter and determine what’s most important to your company. So carve out time on a regular basis to read, learn, digest, and then discern who and what is particularly worthy of your attention. 

Other areas to grow and learn more  

Those are just several examples of successful habits you can develop. Finding a mentor and even volunteering in your community – what better way to flex your leadership skills and widen your circle? – are others that can foster the ability to navigate change. Once you begin your own intentional journey, you will likely discover additional ones that can benefit you, your team, and your business. 

Download a copy of Seven Key Habits of Successful Finance Leaders from SAP Concur to learn more about approaches that can help you meet the challenges and change of the times. 

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