Why Are Today's Finance Jobs Requiring a Different Candidate Profile?

As global finance delivery centers struggle to keep up with compliance, regulations, and customers' needs for faster/better/more insightful data, we ask Julie Harbert, SVP, Head of Global Business Services & Shared Service Transformation, Philips,  how this is impacting the profile of her finance team.

What most defines the difference between today’s Finance Services and traditional Finance services?

I focus on a couple of different areas now, versus what we would have done 10-15 years ago, in the "early adopter" days. Generally, more attention is being paid to the softer skills – so, once you give the technical skills test, what are the people skills that you really need to make this a value-add role? For example, you probably don’t want a Collections person that can’t deal with conflict. So consider the broader skill set you need to make the talent thrive and support the customer, as well.

The other area is how and where we recruit (see below).

How is this impacting where you source talent from and the skills you are looking for?

Given the maturity and concentration of SSCs/COEs/Hubs today, you have to consider all your paths to talent. Considering the global economy, the question is whether you can attract people from the Ukraine into Poland to work – and whether you can appeal to people who want to go back ‘home’ after years of living elsewhere.   

Given that customer-centricity is increasingly important, how are you supporting this within Finance by driving certain desirable behaviors? What do customers really want?

I think it's a focus on value, rather than a basic transaction. A purely transactional mindset approach leads to ticking boxes as a goal – a more evolved goal should be, “Am I creating value? And am I answering the real question?"

What are your most successful recruiting secrets?

At Philips, we go back to our company’s vision: improving the lives of millions of people. That’s a compelling reason to go to work. It was for me when I joined, and it certainly resonates in the market. But a multi-pronged approach will land the best talent: Visibility in the Universities (like funding a lounge area or a fun event); being a vibrant place to work, so referrals are strong; and correct job profiles, always help.  

What are your top talent challenges within Finance at Philips?

  1. Finding enough BPOs that are experts in change / process harmonization
  2. ERP implementation change management

What do career paths look like for Finance leaders, such as yourself? Given the changing nature of the role and the increased emphasis on data analytics/technology, what kind of future roles might feature, internally?

I guess I am living proof of the evolution of Finance roles! From the early years of basic invoice reconciling to Finance transformations to CFO leadership, and then to a role that looks at how to globally integrate and drive value across the enterprise (GBS). Strong leaders who know how to develop an eco-system, produce value and develop talent are always going to be needed.