The role of the CFO is rapidly changing. A chief financial officer can no longer simply rely on crunching numbers while focusing solely on a company’s balance sheet.
This articles establishes a framework for understanding the changing expectations, scope, and mandate of the person who exercises leadership in the most senior finance management position in an organization or in one of its separately managed units—that is, the CFO or equivalent, such as a finance director or vice president of finance. These attributes capture the key requirements of the CFO role and highlight what professional accountants need to do to prepare for finance leadership, as well as the benefits of a professional accountant serving as the CFO.
Governance, Risk and Control
Leadership and Management
Stakeholder Relationship Management
Strategy, Technology and Innovation
Ethics and Professionalism
Big Data and analytics
Professional accountants working in business can typically be found in four types of roles: as value creators, enablers, preservers, and reporters. The CFO principles relate to these roles and will need to ensure success in each by:
• creating value—developing strategies for sustainable value creation;
• enabling value—supporting the governing body and senior management in making decisions and facilitating the understanding of performance of organizational functions or units;
• preserving value— balance sheet management, managing risk in relation to setting and achieving the organization’s objectives, and implementing and monitoring effective internal control systems; and
• reporting value—ensuring relevant and useful internal and external business reporting.
In summary, a good CFO should be at the elbow of the CEO, ready to support and challenge him/her in leading the business. The CFO should, above all, be a good communicator—to the board on the performance of the business and the issues it is facing; to his/her peers in getting across key information and concepts to facilitate discussion and decision making; and to subordinates so that they are both efficient and motivated. Other priorities for a CFO are to have strength of character, personality, ethics and intellect.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Imtiaz Ahmad is a qualified finance professional from ICAEW & ACCA with 15+ years of experience; worked for a diversified range of industries in Pakistan and Middle East. He is a seasoned Coach, Mentor, Counselor and Trainer in Accountancy and Finance profession too. He has 500+ students who got qualified ACCA, CA and CMA to his credit, in different countries around the globe.