Financial Leaders Predictable … unpredictable

Supply chain failure, perpetual labor crisis, cyber attacks and geopolitical instability: while financial management has always been under pressure, these last two years of pandemics, inflation and the effects of the war in Ukraine have increased barriers to predictability tenfold.

Published at 8:00

Samuel LaRochel

Samuel LaRochel
special cooperation

According to Martin Lebo, president of FEI Canada, Quebec, sustainability is key. “Our role is to manage the risks that always exist. However, forecasts that used to be updated monthly based on risk criteria now need to be updated weekly. From now on, we need to think about what has not yet happened. »

Problems of remote work

Not forgetting recurring problems that arise, such as labor problems. “In Quebec, we face two types of deficits: one related to immigration that has not arrived and one related to the knowledge industry. »

It causes the effects of remote work while recruiting certain brains.

Big California companies that want an engineer in Montreal no longer need to move to California, so they raise the rate. It is expensive for us to keep our people.

Martin Lebo, President of FEI Canada, Quebec Section

Rising labor costs are just one of the many contributing factors to inflation. “For example, in the supply chain of electronic parts for cars, the shortage of components is due to the pandemic, high demand, fires in some factories, falling production in Taiwan and transportation problems. dear. »

Succession on rendezvous

If financial teams face many challenges, will there be a next generation that can solve them? “The next generation is healthy,” says Martin Lebo. However, my colleagues and I are aware of the difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff. We pay more attention to them than before. »

HEC Montreal professor Shady Abul-Enein is interested in this sector among her students, but wants to clarify her answer. “I don’t think you wake up at 10 in the morning and say, ‘I want to be CFO.’ [chef de la direction financière ou chief financial officer]”Unless you’ve encountered it in your family. »


Shady Abul-Enein, Professor of HEC Montreal

He goes on to talk about the great anxiety he feels in young people who are trying to plan their careers. “I try to calm them down and encourage them to be the first to follow with their heart. It’s a long journey. First, we find ourselves in a company that deals with financial management, but this is not a very high position. Then, when we see that this role may interest us, we develop skills and climb the stairs leading to another. »

Although many future financiers will receive a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance, the professor clarifies that in order to stand out, you will need more: graduate school, specialized certification, internships in companies and more.

Moreover, in an environment that is known to be a white people’s sanctuary, things are slowly changing. “On the board of directors of the Quebec FEI, we are almost achieving gender equality,” explains Mr. Lebo.

Women are increasingly taking important positions in financial management, even if the rates of women CFOs remain low. Because the next generation in schools is very feminine, it inspires the future.

Martin Lebo, President of FEI Canada, Quebec Section

In terms of cultural diversity, Shady Abul-Aenein is optimistic and refers to the appointment of Jimmy Jean as the chief economist of the Desjardins Movement.

“There are several other people of color who are moving to these positions. In my opinion, there are no such barriers in Canada or those that remain are destined to disappear. »