I’ve been a close observer of the role of the CFO in organisations. I work daily with CFOs. I enjoy the various published reports of the future of the role, and I’m privileged to be involved in a group focused on the transformation of the CFO role to a position to lead and influence strategy.
The role holds so much responsibility. A CFO’s responsibilities include guaranteeing the control and management of a company’s financial assets, as well as being involved in strategy, providing well-founded analysis for the business to make key decisions, and be the right hand person to the CEO. Add to this list the need to lead initiatives and be accountable to third party stakeholders.
That is quite a job.
What’s defined these days as the modern CFO (in articles, papers, or in fact by exceptional CFOs) is largely dependent on the person themselves, their ability to separate themselves from day-to-day financial management, to be a leader, to be a strategic partner of the business.
The point I’d like to make is these individuals are better positioned to further succeed with the right technology to support them. But back to my sporting analogy. A runner, a tennis player, a swimmer needs to be exceptional at their core craft. However add the latest technology in shoes, racquets and swim suits, they move beyond expectation. In my case, the core craft could do with some work and my watch will help me know this…
Business technology helps CFOs make a difference as an individual, but also helps the organisation be different and improve performance. Like the new racquet, running shoes or the latest carbon bike, business technologies allows the CFO to plan better, be a smarter leader and ultimately make better and more timely decisions. Also, importantly, to support others in the business to make their own decisions when they need to.
I meet great finance professionals all the time. They do well despite not having the latest technology, much like the weekend cyclists on their old trusty cycles. The all-too common situation is when all reporting, planning and analysis is done in spreadsheets. Critical processes which impact customer satisfaction, governance and control are being executed manually. Their individual capabilities could be leveraged with robust technology to make what they need to do easier, and to go beyond expectations and deliver more.
Of course, an exceptional CFO is exceptional without technology. However with automated, intuitive tools to report, plan, analyse and control, they can set themselves, their CEO and their organisation apart. I have been most fortunate to have worked with exceptional CFOs exploiting the capability of supporting technology.
You can read more about Professional Advantage and corporate performance management here.
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