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Gen Zs in Finance – Are we in Good Hands?

4 mins read

Qinthara Fasya, DigitalCFO Asia | 3 March 2022

As they complete their schooling, Gen Z is beginning to enter the workforce in greater numbers. After experiencing major disturbance in their own lives as a result of the epidemic, Gen Z is likely to be hyper-aware of the emotions of others in the workplace, aided by cutting-edge technology. According to a study conducted by Oracle, 91% of Gen Z would trust a robot to manage their organization’s finances instead of humans. The increased sensitivity and flexibility of Gen Z will assist CFOs and finance directors. These are important aspects of emotional intelligence that have come to be demanded of CFOs and Finance Directors as their positions changed dramatically during the epidemic.

DigitalCFO Asia spoke with Erik Ligtenberg, COO of Lendela, to find out how Gen Zs are like in the workplace and if they are ready for these C-suite roles in the near future.

New Talents are in High Demand

With artificial intelligence (AI) assisting in data collection and processing, the future generation of finance experts will spend less time on traditional accounting activities and more time on:

  1. Business Strategy
  2. Leadership
  3. Communication and Storytelling
  4. Negotiation

We asked Erik on his experiences when working with a Gen Z colleague and he shares that:

Yes I have and I must say, it has been a great experience working with every single one of them. One of the areas where Gen Z really stands out here at Lendela, is how they naturally go out of their way to help our customers.

The lending market is traditionally highly intransparent, resulting in customers rarely finding the right loan provider that matches their specific situation. This means customers are overpaying, or worse – not even being able to get a loan. For loan providers the lack of transparency is also a bad thing; those with low interest rates and exceptional customer experience are struggling to stand out from the crowd and make it known to the public how good they are.

At Lendela – the first consumer-centric loan comparison platform in Southeast Asia – we are helping people who need a loan to get the best personalised offers from 30+ licensed providers. It is truly game changing. And while we’ve built a strong tech platform to enable our service, our employees are the ones who are really making the difference. It is here where I see Gen Z shine; with their strong, intrinsic motivation to help people, they’ll be going through great lengths to ensure the customer ends up satisfied and with the best loan possible. The excellent reviews Lendela is getting are really a testament to that.

Non-tangible asset appreciation

More AI support will allow applicants with non-traditional skills to pursue careers in finance, and will place a higher priority on intangible qualities such as:

  1. Diversity
  2. Hustle and Grit
  3. Collaboration
  4. Creativity

As Gen Z adjusts to their finance team, CFOs and Finance Directors will need to exhibit empathy and patience by focusing more on intergenerational mentorship and assistance. Outdated E-learning courses should be examined and updated with Gen Z in mind to help them move and integrate into the company.

Are Gen Zs ready to lead a Finance Team?

Definitely. I’ve come to know Gen Z as hardworking, ambitious and especially never shy of making great efforts in the spirit of teamwork. This is what a leader should encompass – not just delegating but also leading by example. I believe their strong aspiration to do good and help people is an additional strong advantage, also in finance. It ensures a true customer-first mindset is not only present among the customer service team, but also across the wider organisation. This is essential to the success of Lendela.

Erik Ligtenberg, COO of Lendela Singapore

Highly Beneficial to Organisations

Social media sites exposed Gen Z and a small fraction of Millennials to regular streams of real-time feedback in the form of likes, comments, and shares. With this generational shift in finance comes the requirement for CFOs and Finance Directors to use Cloud accounting software.

These younger generations, as genuine “digital natives,” demand the same degree of connectedness and access to real-time data to carry out their daily responsibilities. They are not only specialists in social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, but they are also used to and comfortable with high-level software that is critical to future company continuity.

They would anticipate to utilize such applications in their employment since they already have the knowledge and abilities to do so. Organizations that use out-of-date software, such as spreadsheets, will be considered “behind the times” and risk losing out on Gen Z’s developing expertise and talents.

It’s natural for Gen Z to want to communicate at work in the same manner they can connect and interact with individuals on social media. It would be anticipated that employees have immediate access to corporate information, resources, career advancement, training, feedback, and direct engagement with management and coworkers. Those businesses who are unable to provide this degree of technology in the workplace can expect less demand from Generation Z to join them.

Erik shares that in a customer-first company like Lendela, it’s essential to offer a customer journey which seamlessly transitions between our online portal, our chat function, voice calls, email and whatsapp.

As Gen Z have typically grown up communicating through different devices and apps, it comes natural to them to manage such complexity well. I see my team giving customers the support they need and even building trusted relationships with them, all while flicking through our different communication channels with ease.

It should also not be forgotten that Gen Z are the customers of tomorrow. So including bright minds who represent the customer in your team, will be the key to offering a truly great customer experience. And that’s exactly what we’re going for at Lendela.

Every generation, however, communicates in a unique way. Without the Internet, Baby Boomers were accustomed to delivering figures on typewriters and calculators when they entered the financial role in the office. Millennials, on the other hand, grew up with the Internet and learned to manually enter data into Excel spreadsheets on office computers.

The impact of Gen Z joining the financial sector will be enormous, and it will undoubtedly shake things up. This generation will have a very different view on technology, their jobs, and the notion of success in life and in the workplace than Millennials. The time for CFOs and Finance Directors to consider this is now. Before you know it, Gen Z will be in the workforce.

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