Where Have All the Managers Gone? Check the Beach

Today's blog on F&A workforce trends comes from Peter Allen, Partner and Managing Director, TPI.

The talent gap may come in a rather sizable wave over the next few years, and the F&A outsourcing industry is coming of age at just the right time to bridge the gap.

I remember a conversation with the Corporate Controller of an F-100 company a few years back in which he asked, "If we outsource our finance functions, where will my replacement come from?"

It's a very serious matter for companies and succession for key business support functions is a Board-level topic.

So, does outsourcing mitigate the risk of being caught without an acceptable successor to senior F&A leadership, or is it exacerbating the problem by moving the practical, hands-on work to external providers?

My response: Look beyond the walls of your company to understand the broader demographic forces at play.  Succession isn't just about promoting from within.  The candidates for future leadership roles may actually come from your service provider partners.

There was a very thought-provoking article published recently by CFO about the aging workforce.  The article reports that "at Fortune 500 companies, about half of senior managers are expected to retire in the next five years".

Faced with that fact, what's a CFO to do? 

I envision those soon-to-retire finance experts will have a range of new opportunities to work on a part-time basis. I expect we'll see many of the F&A service providers eagerly bringing that talent base onboard to help expand and refine the offerings they are deploying.

Companies should forget about succession for the top of the F&A pyramid within larger companies.  Instead, worry about how the financial processes will run with so many of the most knowledgeable managers headed to the beach.