2019 is progressing along, and if you’re like many other businesses, you understand that there is a continued pressure—from competitors, from stakeholders, and from the board. With a faster speed of business and increased levels of competition, the CFO role has become more and more important as those in the organization expect this individual to deliver more insight to the organization.

From Head of the No Department to Head of the Know Department

Recently, we discussed some of the core focuses of the CFO in path to digital transformation, exploring the process by which finance leaders are moving away from back-office chief, head of the “no” department, and spreadsheet superhero to a broader role focused on moving an organization forward. 

While many of the “traditional” roles of the CFO including financial reporting, cashflow management, safeguarding of assets, understanding and protecting against risk, interpreting performance, and general financial planning and analysis are still necessary, they have become the minimum that is expected. Knowing this, these tasks take up much less time than they used to.

Technology has made it easier to get a clear picture of where you are and where you hope to be, and even the largest enterprises have found the ability to become nimbler, making faster, smarter decisions.

Now, in addition to the traditional roles, today’s CFO has the opportunity to deliver better ideas, take the lead on more projects, and foster the organization, becoming a true business partner. 

The Four New Faces of the CFO

With new responsibility, the CFO needs to embrace new archetypes or personas in order to succeed. Today’s CFO should focus on the following concepts as he or she works towards the future. A Deloitte article recently sought to discuss the different roles of the CFO, finding that you will need to balance the following four roles as you grow the organization.

The Leader

One of the biggest roles of the ‘new’ CFO is that of the leader, who needs to take responsibility in the overall operations of the business. As a leader, the goal is to balance capabilities, talent, costs and service levels to fulfill the finance organization’s responsibilities.

Efficiency and effectiveness reign supreme, and adding value will be a necessity. Success in this role will rely on your ability to fund, enable, and execute on domestic and global expansion strategies and build a financial model to succeed across geographies.

The Strategist

While the idea of being the long-term planner and decision maker has always been a core competency of the CFO, today’s CFO needs to take the reins of business strategy, providing financial leadership in determining strategic business direction, M&A, financing, capital market and longer-term strategies vital to the future performance of the company.

The path to strategist will require you to let go of the day-to-day operations, relying not only on the technology available to you but the people who can use it. Key to success, you will need to delegate critical, yet mundane, finance functions while still maintaining control.

The Steward

Long considered the main role of the traditional CFO, today’s finance chief needs to look beyond financial stewardship, working to protect and preserve the critical assets of the organization and accurately report on the financial position and operations to internal and external stakeholders.

For the steward, control is the name of the game and compliance is critical as always, but to achieve this, you need a consistent, holistic, real-time view of risks and regulations that could undermine strategic choices. Paired with your ability to control, you need to increase the pace of compliance and stewardship operations so that you can maintain a cost-effective organization while keeping pace with fast growing revenue.

The Catalyst

Long ago, you could easily say “it’s not in the budget” or “it’s too risky.” However, in today’s financial landscape, you need to balance risk and opportunity as you move into an increasingly operational role. As the catalyst, your job is to stimulate behaviors across the organization to achieve strategic and financial objectives.

Truly the ‘business partner’ portion of the role, success as a catalyst requires today’s CFO to have immediate access to information so that he or she can provide accurate and reliable financial perspective on how to push the company forward. 

Forging Ahead: To and Beyond Digital Transformation

At MIBAR, we understand that neither digital transformation nor the CFO evolution is a ‘one-time thing’, and as both continue to change the way businesses operate and people work, we want to be there to help you. As one of the leading value-added resellers in the nation specializing on ERP, CRM, BI, and more, we have the skills to help you improve your success as a CFO and push your organization further. Learn more about your path to software selection as a CFO, read Before and After a Cloud-Based ERP Implementation, and contact us to learn more.

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