It wasn’t so long ago that CFOs kept a low profile in the enterprise – but that isn’t the case today. As transparency and compliance become increasingly important, the CFO role is expanding in new and exciting ways. Cutting-edge tools and technologies allow CFOs to showcase skills they had all along, enabling them to take a more visible, vocal role in the success of an organization.
Say hello to one of the most influential roles in business. With big data at their fingertips and the know-how to decipher it, today’s finance chiefs are not reacting to trends and opportunities; they’re leading them. The rest of the enterprise – and the world – are finally seeing what CFOs are truly capable of.
Let’s take a closer look at four key areas where the role has evolved, and what today’s organizations expect from their CFO.
- Works closely with the CEO to shape both culture and policy
As the person closest to the CEO, the CFO has a mandate to provide insight grounded in deep understanding of how every action will affect the business. She or he recognizes the important role of company culture in reaching goals and helps the CEO to build an environment where people and ideas can thrive.
- Provides ongoing strategic guidance around the future of the organization.
An intrinsic part of the CFO’s job is to accurately forecast an organization’s next steps, using data analysis to help guide the company forward. CFOs can say goodbye to caution and embrace the rapidly changing business landscape. According to Forbes, a successful CFO is “fearless, forward-thinking, and full of ideas.”
- Identifies risks and opportunities in the context of current legal and economic realities.
Risk is not a new topic for CFOs, but the way they approach it is evolving. As CFOs are given a broader range of tools, they’re drawing on a wealth of knowledge to optimize their role. They aren’t just managing problems as they arise – rather, they’re anticipating them and facing them head on. Make no mistake: this is a key leadership role.
- Creates strategies that foster accountability and maintain compliance.
As a leader, the modern CFO understands how the importance of accountability and communication. They realize that compliance isn’t a nice-to-have – and they take an active role in maintaining and promoting it. Their place is alongside the CEO as a sounding board, strategist, and enforcer.
It’s exciting to watch CFOs step into bigger, more prominent roles. In the words of David McCann: “There may be virtually no end to CFOs’ ability to add value, particularly because data-analytics capabilities promise to keep growing more sophisticated.”
This new crop of leaders isn’t afraid to take chances and push their companies into the future. They have a big picture view, and the hard facts to back up the recommendations he or she makes. As their role evolves, CFOs are helping to actively forge a pathway to success for their organizations. In short: The modern CFO is here to stay. Are you ready?