In any business, great or small, the CFO is a key member of a modern board. A more competitive business landscape is putting a much heavier weighting on these individuals
Is your company getting the most strategic value out of the CFO, and are they prepared to face modern challenges?
The requirements of a CFO have expanded since the 1990s.
How is the role evolving?
According to a report from the International Federation of Accountants, the requirements of a CFO have expanded since the 1990s, when they were often viewed as responsible solely for a company's financial health. However, in addition to this, many are also expected to bring a sense of direction in terms of company objectives.
Despite the expectations, there are a number of challenges that can arise from working across different departments.
A survey from Robert Half found that learning to deal with multiple personality types was the most common obstacle for CFOs, with 39 per cent naming this as their biggest challenge. Other key issues included coping with stress in a crisis (22 per cent), and managing a number of competing deadlines from many sources (19 per cent).
Dropping a silo-focused mentality can be difficult, but with the right business process management solution in place, getting everyone on the same page becomes a much easier task.
Are CFOs prepared for the digital world?
Despite the changing tides, not every CFO is adapting to a more agile and forward-thinking mindset.
Ernst & Young (EY) recently surveyed 652 CFOs from across Australia and found that 82 per cent felt they are contributing more to high-level strategic decisions such as M&A decisions, performance management and operating model redesign. However, just 49 per cent stated that they were making a contribution to the digital aspects of the company.
As EY's Oceania Assurance leader Mike Wright explained, the results were mixed and highlighted why digital skills are such an important issue.
"Many CFOs emerged from the financial crisis with strengthened reputations, with CEOs relying heavily on them to handle cost-cutting and protect their company during the economic downturn," he said.
"[However], it's surprising to hear that many CFOs are not placing a high priority on digital given it is arguably one of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing companies today."
For CFOs, learning to embrace digital technology will be critical to successfully contributing to a company strategy.