Back in the good old days (if there ever really were “good old days”), CFOs had a fairly straightforward path to success: Be responsible, be timely, be accurate. Good CFOs could also be counted on to think strategically, which added considerable value to the bottom line.
The job was never easy, but these days it’s harder than ever. Corporations demand a high level of sophistication and innovation from the finance function. And the inherent challenges of an economic decline make this mandate even more burdensome.
While most CFOs have taken to heart the importance of being innovative and proactive, not as many of them have defined their role as a central player in planning changes that maximize shareholder value and driving them across the enterprise.
What these executives do not fully exploit is that the CFO is uniquely qualified to provide meaningful input on the organization’s current and future initiatives and to lead the business in adapting to the changes that lay ahead. Leading financial executives take this to heart, providing critical insight to the business at large — not just within the finance function. They use their financial management platform to define and quantify value drivers for their enterprise, focus the entire organization on business initiatives that maximize value, and lead enterprise transformation efforts.
Today’s turbulent times will highlight the value of those CFOs who have already added the title of “Chief Transformation Officer” to their already long list of responsibilities. They have created organizations that are more nimble and better prepared to quickly identify and implement needed changes thoughtfully, with an eye towards not just surviving the next several quarters but being in position to dominate their markets when things swing back, as they always do.
CFOs who truly understand and embrace this new requirement to be a catalyst for change — and to lead business transformation across the enterprise — will create enormous competitive advantage for their corporations.
To learn more about the changing profile of today’s successful CFO, read our analysis of current challenges and opportunities for today’s chief financial officers.
Author: Reed Kingston