Many business publications in recent years have highlighted the evolving role of the CFO. Once confined to the matters of finance like cash flow, accounting, and analytics, their new role finds them focused on financial affairs that drive growth. They now play an equal part with other senior managers in developing a strategic vision and planning the path to that vision.
In the immediate aftermath of the economic turmoil in 2008-2009, many corporations and companies focused on cost cutting as the main source of creating shareholder value. As time passed, cost cutting as the main component of value creation became more difficult. Leadership worried that cutting too far would begin to have the opposite effect and hurt their value.
It was time to create value by finding ways to grow and the new generation of CFOs are in a perfect position to lead the charge. They can provide a unique perspective on strategy, risk, and the company’s core competencies. The CFO is positioned to understand where the money comes from and where it goes. He or she understands the maturity level of the organisation’s processes and knows where and how to shore up the company’s foundations.
CFOs are very well educated people ready and able to use their experience to manage change, including the acquisition of new business models. They also have the authority to make the necessary moves as changes or opportunities arise. They can quickly adapt because the experience of managing a company's finances creates built-in mental agility.
Part of that agility comes from making use of a cloud-based solution that allow CFOs to add a little here or cut a little there regarding infrastructure. Speed is the name of the game.
It is a characteristic of a good CFO to almost instinctively know when to push on and when to pull back. Many of his or her fellow senior executives may remain focused solely on achieving growth; however, a thorough understanding of the financial landscape and the organizations capabilities will help to steer the others to the right strategy.
Part of achieving growth comes from the ability to visualise all the outcomes. Good and bad. Seeing and avoiding potential disasters is critical, and predicting the path to success equally so. Viewing an event from all possible perspectives is what analytics is all about.
Who better to manage the function of studying data to predict outcomes than the CFO? He or she has become an expert at how to wisely spend the company’s investment capital.
Growth. It’s the future, and the CFO is the person to lead the charge.
Written by Paul Podbury @ Locomote