Having the right people use a range of tools and thought processes is important to stop another ‘brain drain’ of top talent.

Digital financial talent

Getting new finance recruits excited about the work they are doing will play a vital role in helping airlines to achieve real digital transformation.

During the ‘Finance Talent in a Digital Era’ session at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) World Financial Symposium, Tabitha DeFrancisco of PwC said that with “everyone becoming a master of analysing data”, finance functions are in something of a crisis.

“Some of this can be fixed with bigger system investment, but ultimately MBAs are leaving because they’re not being challenged,” she told delegates in Miami. 

Ultimately MBAs are leaving because they’re not being challenged

“The challenge is getting them excited about this – somebody’s that interested in automation or innovation, empowering them, letting them run with an idea and giving them the space to do so as well. You can’t just dabble at something on the side and expect to be any good at it.”

Speaking alongside DeFrancisco, Patrick Jonas, Chair, IATA HIPO Working Group, Head of Financial Accounting, SWISS and Head of CoE Quality Management Finance Processes, Lufthansa Group said that “agility transforms finance”, something the Pwc Director agreed with.

She said that looking toward the future of finance in aviation, key skills such as creativity, storytelling to convince business partners of the importance of the finance function, and being able to think like both an IT and finance professional will be key in helping to break down silos and transform industries.

“We are trying to make that happen, but it is a big culture change,” said DeFrancisco.

PwC’s Director added that getting the right people to use a range of diverse tools and thought processes is also important to stop another ‘brain drain’ of top talent departing the financial departments in the air transport industry.

“So it’s about getting out and looking for the right people, and just doing it,” concluded Jonas.