Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

Skilled up: what the finance leader needs to know



There are many reasons to celebrate the resilience, inventiveness and effectiveness of the finance community who have coped admirably with almost a decade of austerity. This report offers some reflections on the financial leadership challenge arising from this environment.




Feb 2016




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This report is aimed at senior finance officers across the public sector and considers the leadership and cultural challenges arising from emerging programmes of reform, particularly in relation to place-based devolution. 

There is a strong desire amongst the finance profession in local government to ensure that they have the necessary skills and capacities for any challenges ahead. While there is good reason to believe that many have already developed some of these new skills, the profession itself recognises that gaps remain and in 2015 CIPFA updated its professional qualification to reflect the greater importance of partnership working, collaboration and commercial skills. 

We talk about abilities such as commercialism and system leadership and recognise the direction for the future. In moving towards this it is necessary not to undervalue the technical expertise and the statutory requirements that govern the activities of a CFO. 

This Insight includes summary findings from research by both CIPFA and Grant Thornton UK LLP and references academic research on system leadership.