Entering the 21st century, financial professionals saw their responsibilities shift from recording various aspects of a corporation’s financial health to joining top executives in a broad based partnership, a trend accelerated by the current financial crisis. The emergence of distinct business models, a trend pushed by globalisation and the economic rise of Asia, is also forcing financial professionals to re-examine their roles. New global research by CIMA, in co-operation with the UK’s University of Bath, shows that momentum towards positions of greater responsibility is likely to continue for accountants the world over. While more analysis remains to be done, initial findings suggest a movement towards roles that add value beyond traditional financial recording and reporting.
But whereas the trend towards value-added roles for the finance function is apparent worldwide, there is a gap between the extent to which finance professionals in the east and west are heading in that direction. The west is moving ahead of the east, the survey suggests, possibly as a result of differing starting positions, organisational structures, the mix of manufacturing and service industries, and cultural climates.
"As the global crisis has shown with no uncertainty, major corporations need financial professionals who understand risk management, cash flow, financial instruments and other complex functions and can offer strategic guidance to top executives and, indeed, to enter boardrooms as peers."