8 Key Trends to consider when upskilling your finance teams
1. Global Elections and Economic Uncertainty
2024 is, not just any election year—it’s possibly the most significant one yet. Around 64 countries (plus the EU), representing nearly half the world’s population, are set to hold national elections. The results will have far-reaching consequences. The upcoming general elections in South Africa plays out amidst a wave of economic uncertainty. Analysts predict that the Reserve Bank will keep interest rates higher for a prolonged period to counteract potential rand volatility. The reluctance to cut rates immediately, as articulated by fixed income portfolio manager James Turp, reflects the delicate balance between economic stability and political transitions. The hesitation of foreign investors due to uncertainty about the future leadership and policies amplifies the impact on South African assets. As businesses brace for potential market fluctuations, the demand for leaders skilled in navigating economic uncertainties is expected to rise.
2. Cybersecurity Risk Management in the Age of AI
The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionising the financial sector, but it comes with its own set of challenges, particularly in cybersecurity. The sophistication of cyber threats is on the rise, necessitating robust risk management strategies. In 2024, businesses are expected to make substantial investments in cybersecurity tools and infrastructure to counteract evolving threats.
3. Evolution of Open Banking Regulations
Open banking is set to undergo significant changes in 2024 with the introduction of new regulatory frameworks. The proposed legislation aims to enhance consumer protection, purchase protection, and dispute resolution. Leaders and specialists will need to be hand-picked for their deep understanding of the evolving regulatory landscape and an ability to drive compliance and transformation of processes and people.
4. Resurgence of M&A Activities and Economic Headwinds
After a decline in M&A activities in recent years, 2024 is expected to witness a resurgence. However, economic headwinds, including increased interest rates and inflation, will pose certain challenges. CFOs are at the forefront of strategic assessments for potential acquisitions, and requires the right skill and experience to utilise data analytics in order to better understand the risks involved.
5. Transformation in the Banking Industry
The banking industry is undergoing a profound transformation, driven by factors such as higher interest rates, assertive regulations, climate change, and geopolitical tensions. This transformation requires leaders capable of adapting revenue models and navigating the confluence of various trends, including generative AI, industry convergence, embedded finance, digitisation of money, and decarbonisation.
6. Real-Time Analytics and Collaboration Among C-Level Peers
Real-time analytics is becoming a cornerstone for CFOs in decision-making processes. The integration of AI and automation facilitates quicker, more informed decisions. Simultaneously, fostering collaboration among C-level peers is vital for holistic business performance. Leaders who embrace continues learning and actively participates in peer-to-peer learning groups will have the edge.
7. People Management and Hybrid Working Models
The persistent shortage of well-trained individuals and the prevalence of hybrid working models are shaping the human resource landscape. Executives must proactively foster environments that encourage upskilling and growth. The future fit leader understands the evolving dynamics of work and drives change in the workplace to ensure their businesses can adapt to the demands of this rapidly changing work environment.
8. Rethinking Assumptions and Cultural Adaptability
In a world reshaped by the pandemic and global events, CFOs are urged to question long-held beliefs, be openminded and need to have a propensity to embrace change. This includes reassessing work environments, technological adoption to adapt the workplace evolution, digitalization, and career mobility, aligning these aspects with evolving values, purposeful aspirations, affordability, sustainability, and societal perceptions.
2024 promises to be a year of both challenges and opportunities for the financial sector. The partnership between Executive Search Consultants and their clients to identify and assess leaders who can navigate these complexities while driving shareholders value has become more important than ever.