News in Brief: Collaboration, job losses, B2Bs at risk, RSM, technology

News in Brief

Report finds collaboration is key for CFOs

CFOs cite soft skills such as interpersonal communications and collaboration increasingly valuable within the company, according to a report.

Adaptive Insights surveyed 533 global CFOs for their 'CFO Idicator Q4 2015' report, which revealed 70% cited collaboration with other parts of the organisation as a key initiative in 2016, as finance sits at the hub of big data.

Among the report findings 76% desire candidates with Excel skills and 75% of CFOs cited interpersonal communications as a critical skill.

The research found a significant amount of time is dedicated to collaboration, with 82% of finance teams spending at least five hours per week meeting with other parts of the organisation, and 51% spending more than nine hours.

Adaptive Insights founder Rob Hull said: “We’ve seen a shift for some time now in the role of CFOs from financial gatekeepers to champions of strategy and value creation for the company.”

Hull added: "To successfully transition into this new role, CFOs and their teams must be able to effectively partner and collaborate across the organisation. It’s not surprising then that CFOs are looking to add soft skills like communication and collaboration to their teams to accelerate this new generation of finance leaders.”

Lloyds to cut more than 1,700 jobs

Lloyds Banking Group is cutting 1,755 jobs and closing 29 branches as part of a plan to cut costs to prepare for privatisation.

Employees at Britain’s biggest retail bank were informed of the job losses, which cover large parts of the group, but union officials said they hoped that the reductions could be achieved by voluntary means.

Lloyds said it would add 170 new jobs in retail and commercial banking and in its legal team, taking the net figure for job losses to about 1,585, reported The Guardian.

The banks chief executive António Horta-Osório is continuing with the cost reduction programme even though the chancellor has admitted that he cannot press on with a sale of the government’s remaining Lloyds shares to the public because of market turmoil, which has knocked the bank’s share price.

B2B companies ‘failing clients’

Many B2B companies are at risk of losing two-thirds of their customer base, according to research.

A study by consulting firm Gallup found B2B companies are failing their clients through low levels of customer engagement and not creating a client-centric organisation.

The analysis measured the engagement of nearly 18 million customers with 19,093 business units and found that 29% of B2B customers are fully engaged to the companies they do business with. The other 71% of the almost 109,000 respondents surveyed are ready and willing to take their business elsewhere.

One in five B2B customers have encountered problems with a company or product, with only 40% of customers believing the company resolved their problem. In addition, only 5% of these customers say they are “very satisfied” with the way the company handled the problem.

Gallup’s research found that businesses scoring high in customer engagement outperformed those with lower scores by at least 30% across outcomes such as profitability, sales and customer attrition.

RSM sees 6% fee income growth

Consultancy firm RSM have announced at 6% increase in global fee income to 3.19bn ($4.64bn) for 2015.

The adviser has also moved up one place in the global ranking and is now the sixth largest global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms.

Fee income was up 10% in the US; 10% in Europe, based on fee income in local currencies; 6% in the Middle East and North Africa; 1% in Asia Pacific; and 9% in Latin America.

Audit and accountancy fees increased by 4% to £1.56bn ($2.27bn), tax grew by 7% to more than £0.93bn ($1.35bn), and consulting and advisory was up almost 7% to £0.70bn ($1.02bn).

CEO Jean Stephens said: “We have had a very positive year and these figures indicate that RSM is going from strength to strength. Our unified brand is allowing us to focus on the needs of our clients even more, giving them the confidence to take their business forward”.

Stephens added: “The professional services industry will continue to be driven by changes in the business landscape. Middle market companies are likely to experience a rise in demand for services and products as advanced economies expand further.”

'Employees expect to use top technology'

Digital techonology is critical to business success according to 83% of employees, with three-quarters of workers expecting to use the latest technology at work, as said by research.

IT provider Computacenter found more than three-quarters of employees are frustrated with existing workplace technologies, resulting in 41% considering looking for a new job in 2016 if this continues.

The survey, conducted among 1,200 UK employees and IT managers, identified that 86% of IT managers experience employees across all age groups demanding more from their everyday technology.

Paul Bray, chief technologist for workplace and mobility at Computacenter, said: "It has long been the case that a digital savvy workforce drives innovation and productivity. With 61% of employees now considering themselves to be digital natives, getting the right technology in place has never been more crucial for businesses than it has right now."

The study found that 95% of organisations indicated that the speed of the technology was crucial to their performance; 92% of employees believe all businesses need to ensure networks and data are safeguarded; and 91% want easy to use technology to eliminate timewasting on complicated systems.