CFO a key business partner
Most roads are no longer leading to company chief executive officers (CEO).
Chief financial officers (CFO) have been forced to ditch their previous “narrowly focused” responsibility for financial statements and capital structure and function as “a key business partner with the CEO”.
Deloitte Barbados managing partner Betty Brathwaite outlined this reality during recent remarks at an ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) CFO breakfast forum at Hilton Barbados.
Brathwaite, who is ACCA International Assembly representative, said the CFO’s changing role “is a current state and reality”.
“The role has changed and will continue to evolve . . . . No longer are you [CFOs] narrowly focused on financial statements and capital structure. You now function as a key business partner with the CEO, closely involved in designing and overseeing a spectrum that includes strategy, operations and performance,” she said.
“If this is not yet your reality, it’s coming! Indeed, today’s CFO has a breathtaking range of new and old responsibilities. Some come with the potential for jail terms and that’s probably not what you had in mind when you started your career!”
Brathwaite said the modern CFO was expected to deliver in the four key roles of steward, operator, strategist and catalyst, being “devoted to stewardship and the core operations of the finance function in order to regain the trust of investors”.
“To protect the assets of the organisation, CFOs are also now called to commit or re-commit to value creation, and in doing so, take on more responsibilities as a catalyst or strategist. And what’s the domino effect? As the role of the CFO shifts towards catalyst and strategist, the responsibilities and capabilities demanded of the rest of the finance department are shifting as well,” she pointed out.
This meant organisations were increasingly faced with a need for talent with a broader understanding of the business, analytical abilities that reach beyond finance, forward-thinking strategy and risk mitigation skill sets, and more strategic budgeting and financial planning capabilities. (SC)