Recent in-depth interviews with chief financial officers from companies in a variety of industries revealed a set of fascinating insights. The CFO of the future is finding success by going “soft” – getting out of spreadsheets and spending more time thinking about strategy, people, and culture.
Over just the past few years, CFOs in vanguard organizations have become strategic leaders. Rather than merely supporting the company’s operations, CFOs and their teams are working directly with department heads and business units to make the strategic choices that drive the best returns on investment, enhance shareholder value and long-term growth, and beat the competition.
This shift requires the modern CFO to actively collaborate with all parts of the business and untangle questions such as: What is our unique value proposition? What is our market potential in each business in which we participate? How can we increase value to the customer? Do we have the capabilities needed to win?
It demands that CFOs use their unique direct line of sight into the organization’s many functions—such as supply chain, R&D, manufacturing, sales, and marketing— to ensure that the company fully develops and invests in its most important (typically cross-functional) capabilities that differentiate it in the marketplace.
Given these new collaboration and management responsibilities, the CFO’s old education and career track are no longer ideal preparation for the modern version of the job.
The hard quantitative skills that a typical CPA or MBA candidate studies are now table stakes; more strategic abilities and soft skills are increasingly critical.
Today’s CFO must be able to develop talent, build a strong team and shape a winning culture, via influencing and collaboration skills vs. via command & control.
The CFO must also ensure that the organization culture is aligned with the company’s path to creating value - else all their financial and business plans risk failure.
Rather than focus purely on financial outcomes, we are finding that today's chief financial officers are most valuable when they pay attention to three important areas: understanding the value chain, shaping the culture and developing talent.
Read more at:Businessinsider