EVOLVING ROLE OF THE CFO

RC: How has the role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) developed over the last 10 years? What remit and responsibilities are typically associated with the role today?

Robertson: In terms of the development of the CFO role over the past decade, strategy has been a leading driver. According to a recent CFO data survey of Fortune 1000 CFOs conducted by the Consero Group, 81 percent felt they worked at companies that viewed their operation as a “strategic business partner”, involving the CFO in key decision-making as never before. And the role is certainly becoming less controller and FPA-focused. Businesses today need a CFO that understands companies, products, technology, digital transformation, business intelligence and sales effectiveness.

RC: To what extent do CFOs have a growing influence on shaping their company’s strategy?

Michener: The contributions of CFOs have both expanded out and above from the traditional CFO of decades ago. Today, the CFO is often the face of the company, one who must know not only the financials of the organisation, but also its operations and strategy. While the CFO ascends to the CEO position a mere 5-7 percent of the time, this individual, more and more, is helping shape the overall strategic direction of the company. This is in part due to rapidly changing economies and financial markets uncertainties. Today’s CFO is challenged far beyond what was experienced in the past: compliance, regulatory reporting, and risk management continue to be front and centre, and even information technology rolls up to the CFO’s office. The CFO needs to be at the table in order to help navigate today’s complex business environment. For a global CFO, many things have changed, as well, from currency challenges to government mandates. 

Apr-Jun 2015 Issue

RSR Partners, Inc.