Business Analytics: The New Must-Have Skill Set

Survey: Majority of CFOs say business analytics know-how mandatory for accounting and finance professionals

Toronto, ON (Sept. 26, 2014) – Business analysis isn’t just for business analysts anymore. In a recent Robert Half Management Resources survey, the majority (63 per cent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said expertise in business analytics, such as business intelligence and data mining, is mandatory for some or all of their accounting and finance employees.

Companies are providing a number of resources for professionals to sharpen their skills in this area, the research found, with outside industry courses and events topping the list. Other tools firms make available to their accounting and finance teams include mentorships, in-house training and the opportunity to work with a consultant.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis. The results are based on interviews with 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of Canadian companies.

CFOs were asked, “How important are business analytics skills, such as business intelligence, for your accounting and finance employees?” Their responses:

Mandatory for everyone 14%
Mandatory for some positions 49%
Nice to have, but not mandatory 23%
Rarely needed 7%
Not needed at all 6%
Other/don’t know 1%
Total 100%

“With the rising tide of data, firms are asking more of their finance and accounting departments. The ability to translate key data trends to provide fact-based insights is now an essential skill expected of the industry,” said David King, Canadian president of Robert Half Management Resources. “Financial teams are increasingly relied upon to translate the numbers into actionable information to inform organizational decision-making. This demand will only accelerate as companies are able to tap into greater volumes of information.”

King added that for those who already have strong business analytics abilities, it’s important to maintain them. “As emerging data and software trends continuingly change, it is important to stay current with industry-related training to maintain your career prospects,” he said.

Ways companies are improving employees' business analytics skills

Robert Half Management Resources survey reveals resources CFOs offer to help employees improve their business analytics skills.
(CNW Group/Robert Half Management Resources)

About Robert Half Management Resources

Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals to supplement companies’ project and interim staffing needs. The company has more than 150 locations worldwide and offers assistance to hiring managers and consultants at Visit its blog at for workplace news.

Source: Robert Half Management Resources