Talking Brass Tacks and Bottom Lines

Conveying Financial Information in Nonfinancial Terms is Top Challenge for Finance Staff

TORONTO, July 9, 2015 /CNW/ - For individuals on the outside it can often feel like those in the financial world use a language all their own, with enough acronyms, formulas and jargon to make their head spin. So it's no surprise that financial professionals have trouble trying to get across complex financial information to coworkers. In a Robert Half Finance & Accounting survey, chief financial officers (CFOs) said their greatest challenge when working with those in other departments is conveying financial information in nonfinancial terms (49 per cent).

CFOs were asked, "Which one of the following do you think is the greatest challenge for accounting and finance professionals when working with coworkers in other departments?" Their responses*: 

Conveying financial information in nonfinancial terms

49%

Learning to interact with a variety of personalities

30%

Prioritizing conflicting deadlines throughout the enterprise

15%

Managing stress arising from crisis situations

6%

Don't know

1%


101%

*Responses do not total 100 per cent due to rounding

"The ability to clearly communicate thoughts, ideas and concerns, regardless of departmental barriers, is pivotal to large-scale business success," said Greg Scileppi, president of Robert Half, International Staffing Operations. "Effectively conveying the ways in which financial initiatives integrate with other programs encourages employee collaboration, and inspires innovative momentum toward achieving shared goals."

Scileppi added that taking the time to find ways of articulating dense financial information can go a long way to building respect among colleagues across departments. "Putting in the effort to create reference points such as a keyword spreadsheet, or a definitions index for financial terms demonstrates an appreciation for knowledge-sharing, and overall cooperation and support."

Following are five tips to improve cross-department collaboration:

  1. Build bridges. The person you call out publicly in a budget meeting could be the one you need to sign-off on an expense request next week. Instead of burning bridges, try to understand pressures your colleagues may be facing in their own jobs. This can give you greater insight into their approach and help you enhance rapport.
  2. Make sure everyone has a voice. Meet frequently with team members and be sure to ask less vocal colleagues for their opinions so everyone has a chance to chime in. Also get to know employees in various departments so it's easier to work together in the future.
  3. Don't put off the inevitable. Avoiding confrontation doesn't address the root of a problem or help to foster collaboration. Take the time to peacefully resolve work conflicts, and listen as much as you talk during these conversations.
  4. Skip the silo mentality. Companies that readily share information across departments tend to see greater efficiencies and higher staff morale. Providing others with insight into processes also helps them understand the time or resources needed for various cross-department initiatives.
  5. Put yourself out there. Spend time outside the office with colleagues to strengthen relationships at work. Chat at company gatherings or invite coworkers from other departments to lunch to get to know them better.

 

The survey was developed by Robert Half Finance & Accounting, the world's first and largest specialized financial recruitment service. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 270 CFOs from Canadian companies.

About Robert Half Finance & Accounting 
Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, a division of Robert Half, is the world's first and largest specialized financial recruitment service. The company has more than 340 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at roberthalffinance.ca. For finance and accounting career and management advice, follow our blog at blog.roberthalffinance.com. Follow @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter for additional workplace advice and hiring trends.

SOURCE Robert Half Finance & Accounting

Image with caption: "Cross-Departmental Challenges (CNW Group/Robert Half Finance & Accounting)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150709_C8679_PHOTO_EN_441336.jpg

For further information: Naz Araghian, 416.865.2140, naz.araghian@roberthalf.com

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