The value of finance skills big and small

Featuring Scott Adair, CPA, CGMA, CFO for the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, New York

Video transcript:

From a government perspective, skills gap is a real challenge. We do deal with civil service law, which puts people in positions and, you know, I will say this, I don’t necessarily know that all of our employees come with the greatest skill set to complete their job, but we fit them into roles that make them productive as part of the overall environment. And, you know, the managers are asked to do a little bit more at times because of who’s on their team, but it certainly is a cohesive team from that standpoint. We try to put people in positions where they can succeed and making sure that they have the right skills to be able to provide the necessary level of engagement to make sure that the information that they’re providing is done properly and correctly and move to the next level as far as moving things forward. It is a challenge, though, and – it’s always been a challenge, I’ve been at the – in the transit industry now, public transit industry for four years, and prior to that was in local government for about eight years, so have seen a lot of examples of where we do have skills gaps. But, lo and behold, we always find a way to kind of make sure that we’re covering those gaps with other folks or further up the chain making sure that folks can do a double check on the information that we’re getting.

Finance leaders have a – can have a real impact across all business lines regardless. I mean I look at it from where I am today in public transportation, but see it in many different areas from the standpoint of making sure that folks realize the value that we do bring to the table. The ability to analyze complex situations and break them down into little bites so that people can understand them better and effectively carry out the task that much easier, is a really important skill set that not every profession, not every skill set, not every person has that skill set. And I think that that’s where finance professional can really help out in any environment. I look at some of the people that I have working for me today and very easily I think that they could very quickly adapt into an operations role, just because of the way they’re used to going about their daily tasks and their ability to understand the financial features of the business and how that resonates throughout all aspects of the business. And I think that a lot of times people don’t look at it that way, and I think that that’s one of the things that we as a profession, as CPAs, we as finance professionals need to continue to highlight, is to, spoke about it earlier in the flexibility that we have of being not just a “no” people but certainly the people that can help, assist get things done, maybe in a different way than what they thought of it from originally the way they looked at it. But certainly provide value to any organization with their breadth of knowledge of the business that they’re in because of the different things that they touch on a day-to-day basis, whether it be a cash receipt or cash disbursement all the way up through accounting for very complex transaction or watching how a control process works throughout the organization and making sure that there’s checks and balances on every side of the ledger from that standpoint.

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