Building an Accounting and Finance Team to Capitalize on the Promise of Big Data5TECHNOLOGY ENABLEMENTIntroduction Shane Hood is the chief financial officer (CFO) for Total Highway Maintenance, LLC, a highway construction company with fewer than 200 employees. A second-generation family-owned business, the company has experienced significant growth over the last three years. Like any business, Total Highway Maintenance must analyze past performance to inform future strategy and planning. Hood’s team used to be able to “cobble” together the data needed for business analytics using various systems and internal resources.1“Now,” Hood says, “given the size of the organization, it is imperative that our employees have analytical skills to evaluate the information and make informed business decisions.” Although business analytics skills are extremely important to the success of Hood’s company, the finance team is under-resourced in this area. Hood cites three contributing factors to this skills gap: (1) tremendous company growth in a short time period, (2) a limited number of existing employees with the necessary business analytics and Big Data skill sets, and (3) the adoption of new technology platforms.Hood’s company is not an isolated example. Leveraging Big Data is at the top of many CFOs’ wish lists as they look to harness the power and insight they can gain by effectively analyzing their own business intelligence. Despite the availability of advanced algorithms and sophisticated systems, it is the people behind the processes who guarantee the success of these initiatives. Unfortunately, accounting and finance leaders are not only having trouble finding the technical and nontechnical skills they need among existing staff, but they also are discovering that these skills are not easy to identify precisely. That makes it even tougher to recruit talent from the outside—a pool that is already shrinking. IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) and Robert Half surveyed nearly 500 financial executives and managers to learn how companies are finding and retaining people with the technical and nontechnical skills they need for Big Data analytics projects and to identify effective recruiting, retention and training practices.