Do Finance Transformation Leaders need a background in Finance?

Posting date:22 Aug 2019

There seems to be so many comparisons and unanswered questions within the Finance Transformation space. Do you need to be qualified or just have an aptitude for change? Should you be data driven or more commercial? And now, should you derive from Core Finance or Change Management?

I have seen more and more Finance Transformation Directors landing key roles despite coming from a Change Management background and it’s great to see career diversity in action, but equally, there are still some organisations that prefer a professional who has taken the more traditional finance route and I’m keen to discover which is the preferential profile.

I recently met with a Finance Transformation Director in the Media industry who started her journey to Finance Transformation in the Change space. From Business Analyst to Project Manager of a CRM implementation to the Programme Management of an HRIS project, she would on paper seem like the perfect fit to lead a Finance Transformation but found it incredibly difficult to be accepted without a finance background or experience.

She did go on to land a Head of Finance Transformation role, gained valuable experience and is now an in-demand thought-leader in this space.

This left me questioning whether a finance background in experience is necessary or if it was the result of frequent push-back and stigma? Are we so focused on internal mobility and career diversity within sectors that we fail to see how adaptable those around us can be?

I’m keen to hear your thoughts - Should a Finance Transformation Leader have a background in Finance or does experience in Change transformation programmes quantify as being just as relevant experience?

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