CFO – Strategic Thinking

CFOs are increasingly involved in setting strategy – a transition that is requiring them to become more effective communicators and to think more holistically. 

CFOs from multinational companies such as Nike, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Ralph Lauren, Xerox, and Archer Daniels Midland, say they’re taking on more responsibility beyond finance and, as a result, are reporting high levels of career satisfaction, according to the report, Views. Vision. Insights. The evolving role of today’s CFO, which was released this week. Finance chiefs also report interest in roles beyond finance, including as chief executive officers.

1. CFOs are increasingly asked to develop strategy in existing and emerging markets while managing the on-going demands of the finance function role. In turn, some CFOs believe their role is evolving from “chief sceptic officer” to a manager of growth.

2. CFOs are increasingly pressured to become world-class communicators. They are challenged by the need to communicate complex issues to a variety of audiences – investors, financial analysts, customers, partners and employees – as stakeholders demand accurate information and transparency in real-time.

3. Most CFOs think they have viable internal candidates to succeed them. But few organisations have identified a specific candidate. And many lack a formal plan to prepare their next CFO.

The next generation of CFOs must possess a vastly broader set of skills than its predecessor. Other key developmental areas for aspiring finance leaders now include experience in corporate development and strategic M&A, in international markets and in the commercial side of the business.

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