Next Generation of Public Finance Officers Takes Broad Outlook

Monday, May 23, 2016

At GFOA’s Tuesday afternoon “Next Generation Roundtable” discussion, people in the early stages of a career in public finance exchanged views on a variety of topics.

For example, when it came to how they got into public finance, there was a diverse range of experiences. For some participants, it was a public administration degree program, while others came from private-sector employers (and were, in fact, surprised to learn that public finance was a viable career path).

When it came to career path, participants were enthusiastic about the field of public finance but expressed a desire for a broader outlook on public service than their current positions afforded them. They expressed this as a desire to move into more generalist manager positions (e.g., city manager). Which raises a question for the future of the finance profession – might younger, highly skilled, and motivated finance professionals find the label of "public finance" too constraining as they gain experience and wish continue their professional growth? This concern might foreshadow a pressure for the further evolution of the finance director – that is, becoming a financial leader in the organization. In addition to the demands from outside of the profession to take on a greater leadership position, much greater pressure might come from within.