Welcome to the latest post in Robert Half’s Thought Leader Q&A series, which features insights from those who have made our company a great place to work and a premier provider of talent solutions.

This post features Jason Flanders, global executive director of the management resources group at Robert Half. Jason, who is based in San Diego, California, joined our company in 2005 as a branch manager in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has since taken on roles with increased responsibilities.

Prior to his current role, Jason served as managing director over North America for Robert Half’s strategic accounts acquisition practice. He assumed the global executive director position in 2019, and he currently oversees strategy, operations and business development for more than 140 of our worldwide offices.

An alumnus of Clemson University, Jason is a noted speaker and commentator on key issues related to finance and accounting employment, management and career trends. He presents nationally and locally with leading professional associations, including Financial Executives International (FEI), CFO Leadership Council, Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and the FP&A Board. When he’s not working, Jason enjoys traveling, playing golf and “relaxing at the beach with my wife and two children.”

Here’s what Jason had to say about the types of experience many companies seek to support their critical projects, what issues are keeping chief financial officers (CFOs) up at night and how leaders can prepare their organizations to succeed in the future of work.

What trends are you seeing right now in how companies are working with consulting and interim management professionals?

The business climate has shifted rapidly amid the pandemic. Companies are prioritizing critical project-based needs and using contract professionals to help execute these workstreams.

Embracing a hiring model that promotes flexibility and scalability as organizations navigate a dynamic environment is critical to success, and contract staff provide the most efficient way to help keep initiatives on time and under budget.

What skills and knowledge are businesses trying to secure for their projects?

Governance, risk and compliance, technical accounting, cash and cost-control management, and financial systems are among the areas of expertise that we see many companies prioritizing.

In your view, what are some critical pain points for CFOs in the current business environment?

CFOs are focused on the strategic elements of the business now more than ever. The CFO role has evolved quickly over the last few years and certainly goes well beyond the balance sheet.

Throughout the pandemic, CFOs have faced many challenges, including digital acceleration, remote work, supply chain disruptions and the overall evaluation of operational resilience within the organization. Many CFOs have also had to ask, “How do we drive overall finance transformation in our business as we go forward?”

As a result, finance executives are focused on many issues. Based on what I hear in my conversations with CFOs, the most critical pain points exist within security and data privacy, enhanced data analytics, process improvement, financial planning and analysis (FP&A), cloud-based applications, and the need to navigate challenges in the regulatory environment.

Looking out beyond the pandemic and over the next decade, how do you envision the future of work?

This is a very hot topic and one we discuss often with C-suite executives. Research for the Executive Perspectives on Top Risks survey from Protiviti, our company’s global consulting firm subsidiary, revealed many interesting insights from around the world, including the challenges executives expect will arise as we look 10 years into the future.

The research was conclusive in a few areas, beginning with the need to prepare for the next decade by embracing megatrends, as the future may arrive much more quickly than we think. As an example, only digitally mature companies were future-ready when the pandemic hit.

Also, the future of work will require leaders to fully embrace the adoption of artificial intelligence, automation and overall digital transformation to move their businesses forward, all while upskilling and reskilling employees to drive efficiency with new processes and technologies.

Lastly, building an innovative organizational culture to attract and retain top employees will be critical in the years ahead and will require careful evaluation of hybrid and remote work models.

The pandemic has taught us many valuable lessons. What’s one of your most meaningful takeaways from the experience so far?

Despite all the challenges both personally and professionally that everyone has faced during the pandemic, our focus at Robert Half will always be about the people. Prioritizing the safety and well-being of our colleagues around the world is at the forefront of every decision made at Robert Half. I believe in many respects that the overall collaboration and support over the last 20-plus months has created an even stronger organizational culture built on care and trust.

Follow Jason Flanders on LinkedIn.

Meet other Thought Leaders at Robert Half, such as Steve Saah and Michael Steinitz. And be sure to subscribe to the Robert Half newsletter for future installments of our Thought Leader Q&A series and to discover more unique stories, experiences and perspectives on the latest hiring trends.