CFO 30th Anniversary

In more than 350 issues of CFO over the past 30 years, we have covered a host of events, trends, and changes — some good, others not so good — that have affected the world of the chief financial officer (more on that here) and the finance function. The CFO used to be the invisible man of the corporation, now finance chiefs are prominent members of the C-suite. They have to be capable of developing a master strategy that aligns a wide range of business needs, determines how to prioritize scarce resources, and evaluates potential risks.

But what will the future of the finance function look like?

The Future of the Finance Function #CFO30 To mark our 30th anniversary of CFO we are looking to you, our readers, to share your views on the future of the finance function. What do you think is in store for senior finance executives in the next three decades? Add your views on the future of the finance function in the comment section below and share this page from the share bar (top of this article) to enter the contest to win an iPad mini!

Example:

Perhaps you think finance’s influence peaked with the financial crisis and the Great Recession, and its power can only diminish in the years ahead. Or, with all the cost cutting occurring in finance departments, you may think they will lack the resources to be effective. Alternatively, you may believe the CFO role is only just starting to come into its own, and that CFOs will have increasing authority in the areas of strategy setting, corporate investment, and board communications. In any case, tell us what you think, and WHY. Make sure all posts on social media link to this page, and include the hashtag #CFO30.

Prizes:

1st place winner will receive an iPad mini! 2nd place prize winner will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Contest ends May 28th, prize winners will be notified May 29th.

Contest Rules:

Entries are judged on the quality of your response and  the number of shares on social media.

1) Add your view in the comment section below.

2) Share this article on social media using the share bar at the top of the page.

Odds of being selected as a prize winner depend on the total number of entries received. CFO Editorial staff will judge comment entries and measure the number of shares to identify the prize winners. Prizes will be awarded, regardless of the number of entries received.

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42 responses to “Share Your Views on the Future of the Finance Function”

  1. The finance function of the future is a rapid proactive force ‘joined at the hip’ with the General Manager to make consistently high-quality business decisions through analytical expertise that produces decision-relevant financial and non-financial information.
    The finance function has multi and cross-functional skills sets to lead and manage change using project management enablers. It is a problem-solving function and is visible throughout the organisation, a strong can-do attitude with a balance of being the conscience of the company.
    The finance function has moved away from transaction processing and month-end ‘backward-looking’ close processes. Instead using the following 25 days of the month to use the results as a tool to improve and grow the business, whilst managing risk and controls.

  2. Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything ~ George Bernard Shaw

    The above quote applies dearly to the CFO and the finance organization. Over the past several years, the CFO role and finance functions in general have diverged into two broad categories –
    1) business partners and
    2) technical specialists

    Finance teams and executives who have embraced innovation, strategy, business transformation and technology to impact growth and profitability of their organizations really fit well into the business partner’s role. I see this role growing rapidly in the future as more and more companies look to finance partners to help them steer thru periods of uncertainty, consolidation and even prosperity to cement long term growth. The CFO – version 2 of the future, will utilize technology, big data analytics and best of breed applications to improve finance functions ranging from order to cash and corporate governance, along with deal making, business strategy and capital stewardship. Relying on technical specialist (see below), the new breed of CFOs will resolve audit and compliance related issues resulting from complexities of operating in a global economy. Because of the wide spectrum of experience embedded in the CFO role of the future, I can see the office of the CFO finally become a critical part of any successful organization.

    Finance organizations that are heavily focused on corporate governance and compliance, will continue to be in demand as they will be the beacon of technical knowledge – be it GAAP/IFRS compliance, SOX, complex revenue recognition issues, etc. This role will become more popular by the term Chief Accounting Officer (some companies like Microsoft already have this role for a few years now). These technical specialists will be relied upon by the CFO of the future (business partners) and will most likely become the second in command in the Office of the CFO.

  3. In the next five years there is going to be a revolution in the finance function as we see finance teams evolve from being ‘finance data curators’ into ‘financially informed business strategists.’ It will happen through cloud-based in-memory analytical tools that will provide everyone in the company with a single, accurate view of the current financial position of the business…which will be the starting point for ‘what if’ scenario planning. Compared to today, business decision making will be moving at the speed of light in five to ten years from now.

  4. Finance function of the future will be focused more on the future and less on the past. To paraphrase the futurist Dan Burrus, in your car the backwards looking rearview mirror is very small compared to the forward looking windshield. As more software programs are integrated in real-time, historical financial reports will be prepared automatically.

    As the rate of change continues to increase, companies will need to be ever more proactive and nimble. Companies will fail if they only react to changes as it happens to them. Successful companies will be preparing for many types of possible changes.

    The finance function of the future will be focused on predicting and forecasting the effects of the future on their company of today.

  5. The future of the CFO team will be driven by serveral developments.

    The CFO will move even closer to the business as a business partner striking a recalibrated balance between retrospective performance evaluation and predictive, forward-looking analytics. Focus on faster reaction and handling of operative mass data for BI will trigger discussions and investments in post-modern ERP Systems, leveraging in-memory technologies with digital-ready apps and APIs, SaaS/cloud options and social business/social collaboration options to support new digital business models, which tend become a more critical source of growth.

    All this will evolve the role of the CFO and his/her team. CFOs will become more “digital”. New responsibilities of the CFO include evaluating digital business opportunities, taking IT decisions and assembling a team to include new digital business and data skills.

    For more details, read on:
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/digital-should-cfos-bothered-johannes-vogel?trk=prof-post

  6. The finance function will be responsible for all the “Big Data” or the huge amounts of data that the company’s systems will create and will be responsible on how to help gleen information out of all this data.

  7. #CFO30 Congratulations on your 30th Birthday! The vision is coming quickly that the days of the green shade bean counter will be gone and replaced with integrated technology specialists who are CPA’s and focused on adding value to business.

  8. Shall move from reporting what & how it happened to what & when shall it happen thru greater use of business information and predictive analytics. Instead of cost reduction and cost cutting, cost formation shall be analysed and suitable action shall be suggested. On the other hand regulation shall become stringent hence CFO shall hav e to track and report all kinds of information hence the business unit shall wear something like a wrist gadget which shall monitor every moment and report the condition of the business … Exciting. Of course there shall be finance groups which shall do different needs of the business .. Transaction recording, watching, analysing, reporting, predicting, changing, etc.

  9. The future of the finance function will be to (a) become more of a strategic partner and (b) continuously cut costs by making use of new technology — so they will contribute not only to the bottom line, but the top line as well.

    This requires use of the cloud (less infrastructure) and implementation of big data analytics (M&A opportunities and targeting sales channel, product and market opportunities).

    Many companies cannot accurately determine where they’re going if they don’t know “precisely” where they are and the charge of forensic analysis needs to be lead by the CFO as no other can better quantify the state of the union.

  10. Finance as we know it will disappear. In the void will enter a new era of management
    that moves away from numbers and into other metrics. The Chief Metrics Officer
    will manage big data using a diverse team of specialists that filter data into
    information that management can use to make corporate decisions.

  11. The finance function will become more segmented as the needs of the organization continues to evolve. The need for “accounting” (historical data) will continue to exist and there will be specialists to satisfy those needs. The growth area will be on the forecasting and analytical side which will allow Finance to satisfy the role of business partner to the operational area(s).

  12. The Finance function will evolve from strict historical cost recorders to analysts and interpreters of data. This will lead to cost reductions based on an understanding of the numbers. The strategic direction of the organization will change as a result of Finance becoming a trusted leader and educator to all departments.

  13. Finance in the future… Many of the no doubt distinguished Finance people responding are taking what I call the “flying car” view of the future. It is clear that the best of us understand our businesses, have a 360 view of our organizations and work tirelessly on adding value to them. This may include any one of a number of things: Business organic or inorganic growth, cost cutting, investment, divestiture, cost cutting, capitalization strategies, etc. The best of us create environments where our Finance organizations and people can add value at an increasing rate from top to bottom.

    The issue is always in the How these things can be done. While Big Data, connectedness, and the automation leaps we see seem revolutionary, and will clearly drive benefits to our functions and processes, they are in some ways expected evolutionary steps. We will have to react to all of the environmental effects of the next generations of data, people, markets. The key to success in the future is to continue to evolve with the times, embrace change, and invest in people.

    So, unlike a flying car, it’s not that sexy…. More of the same!
    #cfo30

  14. I think the finance function will be very different from today’s. Things will happen much faster and with more accuracy. The days of big ERP systems will be gone, taking 5 days to close the books will also be gone. The line between the CFO and CTO will be blurred because the data needed to manage the business will change all the time. Therefore, building large infrastructures of people/processes and technologies will not make sense, there will be a need to have accurate data on a real time basis. Today, a lot of finance/accounting departments spend 80% of their time putting numbers together and 20% of the time analyzing and making decisions, these departments will be gone!!

  15. Mid size and small businesses will outsource their backend functions, such as Accounting to Business Process Outsourcers. Accounting, tax, and reporting are cost centers. It would be smarter for smaller businesses to outsource this function.

  16. The Future of the Finance function is, in collaboration with sales and marketing, to ensure the annual planning process identifies not only the truly maximally profitable forecast and sales/marketing ROI but also the associated optimally feasible and sustainable supply chain to make and deliver the forecast. See article from Wiley’s May/June 2014 of Journal of Corporate Accounting and Finance (http://enterprisemasterplan.com/roi/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/jcaf21958.pdf) and follow-on article in the Sept/Oct, 2015 issue. Also, see web site http://demanddrivenplanning.com/roi/.

  17. The Finance function will be more of a business consultant discipline; a proactive vs. reactive team built to foster internal relationships and cross-functional conversation. The continued proliferation of BIG data will demand that cylo’d work environments go the way of the dinosaur, and skilled Finance teams be in place to analyze customer, ecomm, call center, etc. data to extract strategic business guidance.

  18. DIRECTION OF FINANCE EXECUTIVE FUNCTION NEXT 10 YEARS? NEXT 30 YEARS?
    An Essay, by Greville G. Liburd

    “Our goal is to make accounting invisible and painless for small business owners.” – Brad Smith, CEO, Intuit, Forbes Magazine, October 28, 2014.

    “No accounting software can make accounting painless for small businesses. Only YOU, the professional accountant, can. All you need are the professional tools.” Dr. Chandra Bhansali, CEO and Co-founder , AccountantsWorld.

    (From ACCOUNTING TODAY, VOL 29, NO 5, MAY, 2015)

    These two quotations seem to contradict each other. They also vividly reflect a dilemma that has been converging upon the course of accountants and financial executives. The profit motive and the need to survive in an extremely competitive market place, have become predominant factors in taking a professional stance. This insidious phenomenon will challenge financial executives in charting a direction for their executive function for the next perhaps ten to thirty years. Just about half a century ago, effective management mainly depended upon good bookkeeping and auditing. These two functions, however, only provided management with an after-the-fact report of what was happening to the operations of the company. The pace of doing business was much slower then than now. However, during the fifties and sixties, as industry and commerce rapidly developed, and the flow of goods and competition in the market place became more intense, and management was forced to take a more prospective view of their operations. Another major factor that added to management pressure was the rapid increase in the need for capital that was raised in the public arena, mainly through the US Stock Market. The preponderance of absentee owners among large corporate organizations mandated that responsible fiduciary practices be established with appropriate regulatory controls. Data and information grew astronomically, and the intense pressure brought on by these combined factors expedited the growth of electronic devices such as computers, that empowered management and other stakeholders and regulators to cope and maintain control.

    Today, finance and commerce are awash with digital metrics and electronic tools. These enable management to properly manage very complex operations and valuable assets, in order to produce growth, profits, and a high level of accountability and transparency. It appears, however, that the growing complexity of business operations continues to spiral out of control, as the need for greater capacity points more towards a point of infinity. Currently, the trend towards the “Cloud” as a viable medium for warehousing and mining data and information, appears analogous to mankind’s venture into space, to find alternatives to earth’s limited resources. Our current crisis of information and data overflow will no doubt continue to lead us beyond the cloud, into the stratosphere of ever expanding possibilities.

    Effective and efficient management of business is the key. Embedded and underlying this important concept, however, is also the moral need for equity and transparency within the management function. New business opportunities for profit will continue to entice entrepreneurs to enter new and existing markets. The crowded business environment will continue to push business transactions and processes towards new horizons of complexity. Social, environmental, and cultural forms will continue to evolve, and will demand even greater social scrutiny and regulatory control.

    In addition to our national and parochial security and stability needs and concerns, we must also not forget that the world, at large, is a composite of often considerably conflicted interests, that require constant quantitative and qualitative reappraisal of our relationship to common limited and diminishing vital resources. In such a scenario, only prudent planning and vigilant compromise can prove to be the real hallmarks of a viable strategy. Challenging scenarios will continue to force financial executives to grow their skills in order to accommodate ongoing unanticipated changes in the culture and economy.

    Throughout the next ten to thirty years, financial executives can expect the SEC to remain the statutory authority over traded instruments on the US Stock Market. It can also be expected that the PCAOB, FASB and the GASB will continue to act as effective surrogates of the SEC, in the regulation of accounting and financial reporting functions of US and other Us-related businesses. It can be expected also, that the AICPA and the US stock exchanges will continue to function as reliable ancillary watchdogs for their own practitioners, providing valuable support to the statutory regulators. But as rogue managers, companies, and practitioners continue to find new ways to slip through weakened controls, more structured and well-defined constraints will be added, creating a greater burden for compliant management and businesses. The US Congress and the Treasury will still have the challenge to probe the taxpayer for sufficient funding to finance the government. And the Federal Reserve will still have the task to keep the money supply, interest rates and the economy, stable. Challenges for financial managers of multinational companies will become correspondingly more complicated.

    Serious efforts are expected to continue for the international unification of accounting and banking standards. It is very unlikely, however, that convergence of accounting standards will be fully accomplished within the next ten to thirty years, or that this may even be necessary. But the spirit and intent for common standards continue to create a worthwhile and healthy relationship for the practice of accounting and financial reporting. Such an environment will also create an imperative for executive financial managers and their professional employees to stay alert, and remain invested in the latest knowledge to enhance their relationship with all relevant aspects of management. Financial executives will also continue to play an instrumental role in teaching and impacting in other ways, the curriculum and training of the constant stream of new professionals, as they continue to enter the financial and other related fields in the foreseeable future.

  19. I am surprised that this topic did not have greater appeal. It probably might need some narrowing – some more focus.

  20. Future of finance is rapidly changing but it must include operational excellence, tighter integration with business units, and a focus on helping formulate and supporting the business strategy. New technology and complaince will be a continuing opportunities and challenges – finance units must learn continously to master them.

  21. Beyond “world-class” Finance function (80/20 business/traditional finance as mentioned in numerous articles, studies or textbooks), Finance is to even contain more stategic involvement in the “entire” organization even possibly running some project based business initiatives.

  22. Finance will continue to evolve from an internal function to an external-facing organization that must be more predictive to absorb and react to local, national, and world data points, whether those points are social, economic or political. The CFO will become the Chief Competitive Officer.

  23. Some great comments, quotes and thoughts from the peers on this topic. I’ll add with just an old yet a golden strategy.
    KISS: “Keep it simple Sire”… thru transparency, good internal controls that provide for good checks and balances, with a Trust but verify
    philosophy, a strong Tone at the Top for ethical leadership, minimizing opportunities for internal or external collusion or fraud! And Finance
    should be clean and strong!!!

  24. CEO’s realized they had beside them Financial ressources that have been trained and structured to absorb multi-dimension agendas. Progressively CEO’s asked CFO to unfocused from non business issues and to find solutions to simplify the management of these level2 subjects, the CFO became more exposed, internally to manage risks, support major change projects, … and externally as an ambassador selling trust for its company. Today the CFO is a prominent member of the C-suite, he is a business partner, capable of understanding and support the business strategy and operational needs

    BUT – the ‘non direct business’ issues continue to grow : more and more fiscal and legal contraints, more external reporting, more transformation projects to support, more scarce resource prioritization… – market are shaken with the emergence of share economy, the acceleration of digitalization, the mandatory green requirements, … – CFO’s are expected to grow more on business partnership to contribute to business strategy.

    The speed of agenda updates is so high that it is reducing time afforded to manage everything

    > CFO’s leveraging solutions to avoid to reach the Unabsorbable limit

    CFO are used to benchmark themselves and in these last years, they have constantly moved to get closer to best in class. So why CFO’s would not be confident that he will be able to go-on absorbing new challenges, news tasks.

    Why worry about the future since they already have efficient business partnership, running shared service centers, ERP, Balance scorecard Web reporting, …? These concepts or solutions marketed since more than 20 years are evolving with : commoditization, digitalization, faster business model redesign … ‘today’ has never been so close to the past than ‘yesterday’. Just look at new offers coming from Consulting and SW house companies … it has never been so difficult for a CFO to understand what exactly mean these offer for him (Digital Finance, Cloud Finance, On-line Business Intelligence, Open source billing, Performance Everywhere, New functions Outsourcing, …).

    > My 5+1 beliefs a CFO cannot do without

    (+1) If you have already implemented the ‘solutions from 2000′ (shared services, ERP, business partnership…) skip this point. Otherwise, find ASAP external expertise to analyze the possibility to skip this step. The new generation solutions available, like SAP Simple Finance, Cloud Solutions, … is a tremendous opportunity for you catch up lateness (yes yes do not laugh at this … some companies in Europe just start to implement classical ERP -).

    1. Finance will simplify until it’ll be a commodity, especially on transactional processing. In the same time some functions will pass from value added to transactional. Shared Services’ scope will have to add new functions like budget control and reporting, real estate management, travel management, business process monitoring…). It’s why I believe that companies next move will be to ‘On Demand Business Shared Services’, where you will pay as you go.

    2. Global economy has to be managed by multi-cultural, flexible and international minded people. All companies try to recruit the best so what’s the point if you insert them in an organization that has not be challenged with the same criterias. Try to challenge you finance department assessing ‘in place people’ with you last recruitment criterias …you’ll probably be surprised…

    3. Digital economy is a given. If you have not mapped the gaps between your business processes, systems solutions and infrastructure with last IT solutions (Business Process Automation, On line business intelligence, Cloud Knowledge Sharing, Open Source Management Systems, Intelligent Financial Content Aggregators …) you should not wait for studying it ! Look out, I’m not saying that automation is the ultimate solution. For example, for what concerns business reporting, among the top performer companies, 41% say that excel is the best tool for performance reporting vs 23% for BI and 18% for ERP …and the low performers say the opposite.

    4. Share economy is a reality and will probably influence your company business model. To assess your readiness to adapt you financial solutions, you can for example picture the scenario where you need to move to your best competitor information system. Another way to assess the effort to adapt to a major change is to ask your IT how much you would save stopping in-house specific HW & SW solutions maintenance. One of the major change I think that share economy will bring is the acceptance to share solutions with other companies, bringing a drastic decrease of costs. New technologies will permit to do this without giving up your personalization needs.

    5. An overflowing CFO is not always the right person in the organization to monitor business performance challenge. First of all, he is not the right person to challenge it’s own performance. Second it is difficult for him to challenge board members on finance KPI’s and on their business KPI’s in the same time. It’s why some CFO sponsor the creation of a new performance function. The C-Suite will include a new C-job in best in class companies, the Chief Performance Officer.

    Move with the right level of business expertise

    Most of you will have to move somewhere and if you decide to move, move with the right experienced business ressources. (technical ressources will never be a problem to find).

    Consulting and SW Companies offers will contribute to solve some of the CEO’s CFO’s issues only if managed by Business Experienced People. And good news, the cost of experienced business people is today affordable and they are easy to find with news search tools like linkedin, marketplaces like louerunmanager.com or high quality interim management companies.

    Clients should not be told anymore that the cost pressure oblige the supplier to staff these projects with junior/senior consultants. To select a supplier, a sw implementor, clients, will of course have to filter the project director but also filter the « plumbers » that will be on the project. Avoid ressources that strongly believe thant SAP Best Practice Processes is the bible or that consider that a Business Intelligence system will drive the business. Experienced ressources market offer should permit you to move without being told by a junior business or SAP consultant how to manage your business. I’m not saying that we don’t need to train juniors on the field but they shouldn’t be sold and left alone …clients are more and more reluctant to pay for this.

    https://marcnardo.wordpress.com/a-propos/

    @marcnardo

  25. Like many of the comments already included. Certainly Finance has to be a partner with the Operations & Sales teams to drive efficiencies and maximization of the bottom line. There is more and more data that is available everyday in our world. That said, Finance has to help interpret the multitude of data and provide the relevant insights into the data that are important the business’ success.

    Finally, integrity still matters in the 21st century. We need to continue to be unbiased, fair and objective in our support of the businesses we support.

  26. What is the Future of the Finance Function?
    The finance professionals that work in real sector industries (not the banking, or financial industry) will be the focus of these paragraphs. They have already travelled a long way from pure bean counting days looking at the past events, long nights to achieve hard deadlines for tax, regulatory and HQ consolidating requirements, extended job security, and the predictability of key external macroeconomic and finance variables. Tech is the ink for the current accounting and finance language, operationally savviness and up-to-date actionable information are the new deadlines, scenario building, flexible thinking, team problem solving capacities and exposure to rotating tenure are becoming more and more part of the landscape. These rational beasts are apparent outsiders to their own financial kin and to the rest of the C-suit, but they must be able to think, translate and defend from operational units, to sales margins to financial audited results in the blink of an eye. Communication skills for an introverted archetype will require practice and mastery ever more.

    Finance professionals will be more accountable to the board of directors, investors, creditors, major credit clients, employees and public opinion than in the recent past. Signaling of high-rotation or exit of the C-level executives move to worry the previously mentioned watchers. Continuous education and certifications validation will be more common to signal professionalism, career integrity and outright devotion to this specialization – the MOOCs, the different certification programs (CTP, CFP, CFA, and many others) will come together to assure quality control and updating beyond your college or MBA years. Finance professionals will need to keep active eyes both in the day-to-day cash problems as well as to the long term horizon on behalf of the owners and key financial stakeholders – more detailed business simulations will include impact not only on the once a year capital expenditure (capex) exercise but actual follow-up through the periodical financial statements for each new venture or product line.

    Teamwork and great communication with inside collaborators and external independent advisors will lighten the operational burden and close any potential knowledge gaps due to the constant change of regulations, but the accountability will ever rest on the top Finance executives. Their creditworthiness and moral standing to outside credit providers, minority investors, tax authorities and even judicial systems will be under more scrutiny during stress times.

    They will continue to rise from accounting, finance and economics formal education, but more operations and IT backgrounds will upgrade their credentials and become very competent for internal finance functions. The ability to read, transform, advise and action on the gigabytes of data that nowadays any business generate will be a very valuable asset – especially if it is reliable, historically consistent and can withstand auditors scrutiny. The merge of an operations mindset, finance acumen, economic and strategist vision, IT proficiency, unquestionable ethical principles, grace-under-fire thinking, and clear communication abilities would be the aspirational description for the future finance functional professional.

  27. The Finance function is no longer just “Counting Beans”. It has evolved into an all encompassing roll. From General Manager to HR, Recruiting, Payroll, IT. Insurance, Sales, Customer Service, Production… the CFO must have a pulse on every aspect of the business and has become the CEO’s right hand man and most valuable source when it comes to making decisions.

  28. During the Industrial Revolution the world quickly increased in complex. To keep an overview, modern accounting developed, basis for controlling and steering companies.

    Today, with
    – ever increasing globalization,
    – divisionalization of tasks leading to long and complex value chains,
    – exponential growing data and knowledge,
    does this accounting system still meet the purpose? The understanding is increasing, that more holistic approaches are required to control a business, ensuring its competitiveness, resilience and sustainability.

    Materiality, Sustainability and Capital are core questions to address in integral and holistic manner.

    CFO will maintain their function to provide management with understanding of where the business stands, however,
    – considering next to financials also environmental and social aspects in evaluating business risk, resilience and opportunity
    – providing the big picture, where the business stands in consideration of the dimensions beyond the financials, but also environmental and social aspects
    – at the same time having access to granular information on all dimensions – financial, environmental, social, et al. – allowing pin pointing, controlling and direction of each variable
    – utilizing modern tools of data analytics and driving together the masses of data generated in the multitude of applications in use
    – continue of providing within the executive function of Plan-Do-Check-Act the important role of measurement and interpretation, however, in a holistic and integral manner.

  29. The role of Finance sill continue to be a major player in future business landscapes. The role will grow in Compliance issues, faster more accurate forecasting/reporting and even in data security planning. The education and bandwidth of Finance leaders will have to change in order to allow them to be effective leaders in every business.
    We can no longer hide behind complex spreadsheets and confusing T account maps.

  30. The finance function has been evolving over several decades – this is nothing new. As technological advances take place CFOs will always have to stay up with the changes, use technology to their best advantage, and make the function invaluable to the business, by being more than bean counters. A CFO needs to understand every aspect of the business, as one always did, but now it becomes necessary to be operationally savvy so that technical nuances can be integrated to increase profitability and provide greater utility to the company – more than being a ‘cost center.’

  31. As reporting requirements increase in volume and complexity, the Finance Function must continue to optimize how it accumulates data and automate how that data is manipulated and reported.

  32. The role of the CFO is traditionally viewed as The Financial officer, however at different times the letter F in the title has also stood for Fact, Forensic, Fault, etc…however for the CFO to have a greater impact on any business anyone in the CFO role need to add a few more words which the letter F in the title can stand for, such as Foresight, Forward and Future.

  33. Many times when I tell someone that I am the CFO they readily assume that I am a CPA and that I have risen through the ranks of accounting and the Controller position. Though I see the CFO as the chief finance policy maker, the role is far more comprehensive in overall corporate operating performance and strategic improvement. The finance field and role is quite diverse; however, the CFO has to be engaged and driving organizational performance across all departments. It is a great time to be leading a vital role in a growing organization.

  34. I feel that key financial leaders will need to continue to develop reporting functions that provide instant business data that is accurate and beneficial to the direction of their company. More and more I feel that key financial leaders will take a broader responsibility within the business to maintain a lean management while still providing top results.

  35. Future Finance function should have a management support role with the business by working closer with the business to ensure sound assumptions are used. This support will contribute to organisational performance.
    To apply the future function finance must have a strong CFO leader for generating value of the business.

  36. Future of finance, CFO in particular … must be M&A savvy, be able to “blend capital”, shop for capital on a world-wide basis, and understand capital market efficiencies.

  37. The finance of the future will hopefully evolve to a more cohesive unit of finance and operations working together for the betterment of the average employee and for both national and world economics. Long gone are the days of the overpaid CFO with no competition that hides in the background and makes decisions that “no one else would understand”. With the evolution of lightning fast data, faster and even more complex than ever, there is no longer the need for an “expert” to sit around and make decisions that once seemed magical but to help implement the information into operations for a more financially secure company. It is time for the CFO to get their hands dirty and understand the true origination of the data, the daily operations that feed into the financials, the smallest function of operations that make the difference between a company’s doors staying open and closing and the average person losing their jobs. Once a CFO could say, only I can understand the numbers. With the evolution of systems that can spit out this data like never before, the competition for a CFO who is able to use financial common sense and a 365 degree view of economics is going to be more valuable than a CFO who just sits around and “interprets” the data for shareholders. The sticker shock (millions of dollars) that once came with once hiring a competent CFO should be dissolved….how many of the companies that once graced the covers of CFO magazine and like magazines no longer exist?…how many of those CFO’s are now at other major companies using the same outdated philosophies and demanding even higher paychecks with the only claim they have to success being that they somehow know more about the data through experience, wrong. It is time to usher in an age where we look at the CFO as an fiduciary of the job security of each employee from the stockroom to the boardroom, information that the Chief Financial Officer disseminates should be understandable to everyone, not only the shareholders. It is time for a new generation of CFO to rise up and challenge the normal. Rather than being an invisible hidden figure making magical calculations, being a visible change and a loud voice to making sure that tax and accounting secrets do not bring down another company and even larger, our economy, like it has in the past. The CFO is one of the keyholders to the hidden math in our society, that responsibility should be taken more seriously than ever before for the future of each company and the economy on a national scale.

  38. The Finance function will continue to serve the organizations, providing key operational information that will drive decision making, planning, and analysis of past results. If we do not know where we came from, how can we know where we are going? (not origninal, but true) Finance needs to establish a balance between leadership and support, and will vary in its role depending on the culture of its environment. The keys: timely, accurate, and valuable information in a readily understood format.

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