Across segments, higher education institutions are confronting a host of external pressures. With future resources increasingly uncertain, institutions are performing more strategic financial planning than ever before, both at the unit-level and centrally. As a result, staff profiles are shifting from “accountants to analysts”—away from processing transactions and toward analyzing financial data to inform strategic decision-making. Staff also require professional competencies, such as communication and critical thinking, as they spend more time helping units make decisions.
Most institutions do not have the resources to create new financial planning staff roles and hire new staff with these skill sets. Instead, leaders must pursue a three-pronged approach to build more strategic financial planning teams: First, rewrite position descriptions to elevate staff profiles and codify required, more advanced skill sets. Second, update candidate interview processes to fill all vacancies with staff possessing the right mix of technical skills and professional competencies. Third, invest in training for current staff to build new skills and raise performance. This toolkit contains five tools to help finance leaders execute in these three areas.
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