It is a well-known fact that the role of the CFO is changing. The economic downturn put finance teams at the forefront as they helped organisations to survive. The traditional CFO has had to strengthen their skillset and extend their knowledge outside of the finance department to become more strategic and help organisations succeed and grow.
Traditionally, CFO's carried out transactional activities within the finance department, but now the role has evolved to more of a business partner position, operating across multiple departments, with close ties to the CEO. In a 2010 Accenture study of more than 1,000 CFOs, 80% had been asked to take on new responsibilities in areas outside of finance, including IT, business development, client services and marketing/sales.
So with these growing requirements and changes to the traditional role, what key skills are required from the modern CFO to enable them to meet business requirements, both now and in the future? Here is a list of skills that are of greater value to the CFO than ever before:
- Strategist – The CFO needs to have a broad company perspective as they are no longer confined to the finance department. CFO's have to be more strategic and assist the CEO in new opportunities, taking on more of a business partner status.
- Translator – The CFO has to be able to translate the KPIs of the organisation into useful information for the CEO and turn the CEO's strategy into an actionable plan. They have to communicate this strategy across the organisation; feed results back to management and suggest ways to improve it.
- Spokesperson - The CFO is responsible for financial issues, communicating with shareholders and motivating colleagues to execute the company's strategy.
- Broad technical knowledge – The CFO needs to have broad technical knowledge. As well as financial management and reporting, CFO's should know the basics of investments, credit and cash flow forecasting; information about technology systems and much more.
- Risk manager – The CFO needs to be a trusted advisor when it comes to risk, especially as businesses become more complex and international. Not only do they need to ensure compliance with a growing number of regulations and laws, but they need to identify, assess and respond to ongoing and emerging risks to the organisation.
These are just some of the essential skills required of today’s CFO that can make a significant difference to the success of an organisation. At Eclipse, we provide technology that enables CFO’s to carry out their roles more effectively, from business intelligence and reporting solutions through to procurement and business process management systems. To find further information on the services and solutions we provide, call us on +44 203 866 8800, or: