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How to improve the finance team’s creativity and problem-solving skills to propel business recovery

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As we emerge from the upshot of COVID and Brexit, business recovery relies heavily upon the skills and abilities of your workforce. Often, in times of crises, soft skills are weightier than hard skills in determining success, and attributes such as creativity and problem-solving become the most valuable in an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach.

The most effective leaders exude creativity and WeForum listed complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity as the top 3 essential skills in 2020.

But a career in finance may not typically be described as the most creative. Similarly, those in finance professions are not normally inundated with opportunities to be innovative or to solve problems in different or unique ways. What is important however is that finance specialists are allowed and encouraged to display softer skills that will help them to maximise their much-needed role in your business recovery strategy.

Even if finance leaders are not habitually known for possessing the same levels of innovation or imagination as, for instance, a marketing team, these skills often do exist, can be honed, and can be applied in a financial role.

Here we have brought together our advice for bringing out your finance team’s creativity and problem-solving skills for propelling business recovery.

1. Support learning and development 

Most finance leaders are highly trained and can be considered experts in their field. They regularly act as trusted advisors to the rest of the company, and this is even more imperative during phases of business recovery.

People who are confident in their subject and who remain inspired in their specialist area are more likely to think creatively and outside of the box. As a business leader, you can support this by encouraging and providing ongoing training and learning. Not only will professional development opportunities motivate your finance team, but their up-to-date understanding of the latest knowledge will undeniably aid your recovery strategies too.

2. Encourage communication

Whether it is obvious or not, many elements of finance are a cohesive blend of mathematics and art. When looking to hire a finance leader, or to develop your current team, provide lots of opportunity for open communication so that they can tell engaging stories with numbers that will drive business recovery.

Ultimately, finance is at the centre of your company’s success and providing a forum where it is seen as interesting and motivating to all involved is key to recuperation.

3. Facilitate collaboration

Many individuals who are drawn to careers in finance are analytical thinkers and therefore visual learners. Yet, many finance departments sit in dedicated areas and away from other parts of a business and can only imagine the reality of what day-to-day operations are in other divisions.

If this is the case in your organisation, be sure to encourage collaboration. Provide finance with lots of opportunities to mix with other business areas and to gain a good understanding of how other departments work. Offering insight into other functions and bringing them to life will inevitably help when it comes to financial problem-solving in relation to those specific business areas.

4. Organise social events

One of the best ways to nurture creative thinking is through building relationships and trust. And a great way to do this is to arrange social or team-building activities between your finance department and other colleagues.

Events do not all need to take place outside of working hours - sometimes just a social lunch chatting about topics other than work can help to develop empathy for others’ roles and responsibilities. In turn, that drives creative and new ways of thinking about financial planning and solutions.

A break away from the everyday routine can motivate individuals into a more innovative mindset that will support your business recovery activities.

5. Promote mindfulness

Extending beyond just your finance team, actively promote mindfulness and wellbeing across your whole company. The benefits of supporting your staff in partaking in health and wellbeing activities are widely documented. Mindfulness in particular is reportedly one of the best ways to promote clear thinking and to help your people to develop unique solutions for problem solving.

Look at your company culture and devise methods for best introducing mindfulness across your business. While some companies go to the lengths of providing meditation rooms, it may be more appropriate for more conventional organisations to simply start by sharing articles on the concept or bringing in a practitioner to hold a workshop

Encouraging innovation and creativity is essential when a business is in recovery mode. Having the freedom (and the ability) to explore how things could be done differently is good practice in any department, and your traditionally less-creative finance function is no exception.

If you are looking to expand your own finance team, why not get in touch with us today? We will connect you with top finance professionals who are ready to play a central role in your business recovery plan.


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