From Company Calculator to Cutting-Edge CFO… Are you feeling the change?


Laura Paterson blog, Qualified Finance, client...

An evolutionary business change is occurring within the senior management teams of organisations across the world. Is the CFO role as we know it, paving the way for the new Strategic Business Leader?

According to American Express and CFO Research’s sixth annual Global Business and Spending Monitor study, CFO’s across the globe have more influence than ever over the strategic direction and revenue generation of a company.

It is evident that across all sectors there is an increasing need to do more for less: business competition is fierce, the economy is still delicate, and both internal and external customers alike have requests which should have been fulfilled yesterday.

The responsibility for these key deliverables will now, more than ever, rest with the CFO.

Visibility and efficiency are on-going challenges that need to be addressed by a CFO to ensure their company’s profitability and growth. To enable these changes, we see the evolution of a new type of CFO– one whose entire existence relies on innovation.

By its very nature, innovation alludes to change.

The internal factors such as driving cost reductions and improving processes and procedures will always be a priority. These are the day-to-day, bread and butter duties of the CFO but finance teams are going from being number-crunching, operational functions and becoming strategic finance business partners that drive change.

Long gone are the days when CFO’s were just a calculator for their company, they are now juggling an array of responsibilities and initiatives making them instrumental to a company’s success. Not only is the CFO preoccupied with building credibility for the finance function across the organisation but they now also have to instil a sense of confidence amongst analysts, the Board, employees and advisors….they are becoming the one person who has all the answers.

What has truly changed is the level of influence on the external factors, whether that is the launch of a new product or service offering, a move into a new market, or the acquisition of a new business. The CFO is now a pivotal point in making these strategic business initiatives happen.

What are the CFOs of today doing to allow their teams to become a strategic finance function? Many are reducing the unnecessary accounts admin burden. Is setting up a shared service centre the answer?

Some may argue in favour of this as surely a consequence of these drastic changes will result in the freeing up of resources to focus on strategic initiatives that truly focus on the delivery of business goals for growth and improved profitability.

The efficient functioning of the back office along with business transformation is the key to allowing finance to become a front office function which drives revenue and commerciality.