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CFO roles need to be more strategic

Over the last decade, the role of the CFO has shifted immensely. The historical tasks of a CFO – looking after books and records, financial reporting and statutory compliance continue to be important but are now taken for granted by CEOs.

CFOs in modern day time are now expected by their CEO to take financial data and use this to influence operational decision-making and strategy. But how?

To be an effective business partner, today’s CFO must have the necessary leadership and communication skills to advise and counsel as well as provide a voice of reason. They should possess a strong understanding of the company’s business model and industry to be able to use their knowledge to provide an independent perspective and to constructively challenge the commercial and operations teams. In order to ensure the businesses decisions are grounded in solid financial criteria.

It often falls to the CFO to ensure adequate assessment and mitigation of risk and compliance with applicable regulatory or other legal requirements. As well as, supporting strategy development and helping enable its execution. The CFO also plays a role in prioritising and ensuring the strategy can be funded.

As a result of this high expectation of CFOs from CEOs, CAOs (Chief Accounting) Officers) are becoming the go-to technical accounting experts within many companies. They take responsibility for staffing and accurate finance reports produced on-time. Therefore, meaning that CFOs can step up and are given more room to become the strategic business partner that their CEOs are expecting.

So, what’s next for a CFO?

Ideally, CFOs should gain an understanding of finance experience specialising in positions which can offer them exposure to commercial and operational functions within the business. It would also be advantageous to take roles outside of the finance function (depending on the nature of the company).

CFOs should look for leadership opportunities to gain team-building skills to develop their communication and influencing skills, which are necessary for dealing with both internal and external stakeholders.

If CFOs were to get investments in digital technologies, this would be vital in managing complexity and driving productivity. They must raise their game in managing, analysing and presenting data in a way that is of the greatest value to the business.

Finally, and perhaps the most important element is the increased expectations on the CFO means increased demands on the whole finance function. The very best CFOs surrounded themselves with the best talent they could recruit and make a big effort to keep them. They will make coaching, mentoring, and leadership development a big priority at all levels of the finance organisation.

How we can help

Here at SKS we have developed our industry-leading service Finance Function Outsourcing, which has been helping SME businesses work more efficiently whilst also supporting their growth plans.

Our dedicated team are able to take on the role of CAO or Financial Controller, where we will take responsibility for tasks such as delivering vital reports or providing real-time key performance data to help the senior management team make more informed decisions.

We do this by using an innovative ‘shared services’ business model, which is something previously only larger companies had utilised. Our approach is to provide a wealth of information through accounting services for mid-sized and small-cap companies, resulting in a potential cost reduction of up to 40% whilst also freeing up your team members from manual tasks; allowing them to maximise their value to the business.

You can find out more about our Finance Function Outsourcing service here, or alternatively you can download our FFO leaflet here.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to our team about how FFO can benefit you and your business, feel free to get in touch for a free, no obligation consultation.