New Program Focuses on Digital Mastery For Finance Professionals
The ability to harness, process, and make strategic decisions with data is becoming an invaluable skill set for finance professionals and beyond. The Association for Financial Professionals’ Digital Finance Academy helps participants develop these competencies.
To better prepare corporate treasury and finance professionals for the various obstacles in a data-driven economy, the Association for Financial Professionals is launching the Digital Finance Academy
“Our members convey to us challenges, and I hope what we bring to the table are solutions to those challenges,” said AFP’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Glenzer, CTP. Chief among them is the need to sort through the bevy of data in order to make important strategic decisions that could determine the direction of an organization.
Because data informs a wide range of corporate processes, from guiding hiring practices to determining the value of a company’s potential acquisition, data mastery is becoming an indispensible skill in the toolbox of many finance professionals. However, this importance is overshadowed by the reality that many people have not yet adapted to these rapid, ongoing changes in digital transformation.
Three questions are at the crux of successful data management: how to access data, how to make sure the right data is being used, and how to avoid being paralyzed by data. The latter question is one that has been raised by AFP members. The explosion of data sources has presented the danger of what Glenzer calls “paralysis by analysis.”
Since the inundation of data can be overwhelming, AFP’s academy will help participants develop the critical thinking skills to better manage and interpret the data deluge. Part of this strategy involves identifying the correct tools to craft a compelling story, Glenzer said, as opposed to just projecting rows and columns of data. “Data visualization doesn’t just mean making a pretty chart,” he added, stating that those who are less progressive fall into the trap of viewing data science as a separate discipline.
The five-course program, comprised as a series of seminars, can also be personalized for finance and treasury teams through customized agendas and delivery length. AFP will measure the efficacy of the academy through member feedback and quantitative reviews. In structuring the curriculum, AFP worked with academics and experts in the field to determine the best way to respond to a pressing need expressed by so many of its members. But the implications extend beyond these parameters.
“The need to better master the data available to an organization is already upon us,” Glenzer said. “The pace at which data is becoming pervasive in every profession is so rapid that the need to learn quickly is affecting all industries.”