I read something recently that tugged at some of my dangling entrepreneurial threads.
It was an account of a recent study, an annual report on CFOs from global business process outsourcing company WNS, in which analysts spoke breathlessly of the looming sea change for the chief financial officer’s role on the corporate stage.
The concept of a revised version of this essential corporate functionary is interesting to me, particularly as it relates to the question of how 360 Visibility might support it.
The rumblings are of a redoubled commitment to those conventionally identified CFO priorities, newly resurfacing from a global economic shakeup that wildly rewrote job descriptions in the process.
Resurfacing in the centre of day-to-day operations, the reinvented CFO is less concerned with achieving sales growth and long-term development, and more with effective decision-making and ensuring that those decisions are aimed at securing the success of the business overall (versus, say, a short-term revenue hike).
From taxing market conditions to new competitor threats to a more demanding customer base, the scene CFOs face requires more effort than ever to preserve a competitive edge. Add to that the increasing presence of the Internet, a slew of environmental and sustainability issues, and an investor community that’s insisting on an accurate tally of a company’s long-term economic value and you’ve got a serious pressure cooker on the go.
The globalization of economies in recent times has also left its mark on the CFO position. Finance functions often reside now with individuals remote from the business, plucked from a new, global talent pool. This trend also influences people’s educational habits, with many CFO types adopting courses of study to secure international finance qualifications.
The good news is that the new CFO landscape includes the considerable assistance of some very sophisticated technology, including that whoseinstallation and maintenance we oversee at 360.
Time it was that a CFO needed to wade through manual ledgers and across multiple, unlinked platforms to make sense of his firm’s goings-on. Today’s technology reduces the burden around the basics. The fundamental, end-to-end transactional flows inside a company will be streamlined; the need for manual intervention eradicated.
Much can be done on screen today, freeing up the finance function to focus on value creation, strategic decision-making, tactical determinations, effective budgeting and analysis forecasting.
And so the CFO is down on the field now, helping to drive the game, moving the players around in a bid to position the organization to capture future business success.
He’s a businessperson, with wicked communication skills, a powerful grasp of project management and some pretty serious stick-handling prowess.
Today’s CFO is less about keeping the books and more about being dynamic, about living in the heart of the corporation, about throwing his back into helping fellow executives drive the business forward.
Today’s CFO is primed for tomorrow.