Date posted: 02/11/2022 5 min read

5 essential finance skills for the Data Decade

Finance teams are undergoing unprecedented changes which have led to increased efficiencies, but also uncertainty around new skills replacing traditional ones. Brought to you by Phocas.

A series of recent technological breakthroughs have granted chartered accountants access to an unprecedented level of data analytics. But while the potential for an enhanced customer service is immense, it has also meant a seismic shift in skills requirements.

“The expression ‘nobody likes change’ is often apt, but transformation has become mandatory for any organisation that wants to stay competitive,” says Jordena Tibble, product expert at Phocas Software. “Many businesses are finding themselves mired in antiquated processes or drowning in data, rendering them unable to pivot as the world changes.”

The data explosion comes at the same time as what has become known as the ‘Great Resignation’ as workers across multiple industries quit in their droves. It’s a trend likely to continue, with a 2021 survey by PwC finding 65% of employees were looking for a new job.

There are five key skills Tibble recommends finance teams learn now to meet the demands and opportunities new technology presents in what is being described as the ‘Data Decade’.

1. Accountability and dynamic reporting

“Business stakeholders want to know what’s really going on across sales, product, marketing and customer success. This information then needs to be translated into how they can optimise each to get the most return,” she says.

This requires that organisations shift away from spreadsheets that are prone to error and only show what's happening at a single point in time.

2. Transparent business intelligence

Stakeholders need to know that the finance team is collecting the right data and analysing it correctly.

“Modern cloud-based solutions can integrate directly with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, which makes it crystal clear where financial information is coming from. Financial dashboards, budgeting tools, and forecast modeling can in turn show exactly what that data means,” she says.

3. Creating trustworthy KPIs

Holding data in disparate databases is a recipe for fragmented, duplicative, and inaccurate analysis.

“A purpose-built financial planning and reporting solution can instead funnel data residing in various systems into one place where it is deduped, transformed and made ready for analysis,”

4. Self-service reporting

If a finance team is focused on pulling together data to create and run reports – or waiting for other departments to do it - they’re tying up time that could be put to better use focusing on analysis and strategy.

“Instead of relying on IT to run reports, which often comes with delays, self-service financial reporting software ensures staff can easily pull their own data and reports on demand.”

“Self-service financial reporting software ensures staff can easily pull their own data and reports on demand.”
Jordena Tibble, Phocas Software

5. Meaningful data exploration

The digital age has delivered quality and quantity when it comes to data, but it can also make for a lot of ‘noise.’ Tibble says being able to use the data in meaningful ways will be a key skill, and one our customers are increasingly expecting as the norm.

“Financial analysis platforms can help by breaking up your data, enabling you to visualise it in new ways. Even better – digitalisation means finance can share these insights across other teams.”

Finance teams need to steer their skills development towards being able to apply the information -and subsequent analysis - to activities including budgeting, forecasting and optimised forward planning.

Find out more:

Phocas Software offers solutions for analytics, finance statements, and budgeting and forecasting that work seamlessly together to help businesses report, budget, and act faster by putting data in the hands of decision makers. It creates software to help people feel good about using data.

Join our webinar: ‘5 ways to reduce admin time with analytics’ this November to learn more. Register at