A report from consulting firm BearingPoint breaks down the skills and focus areas finance leaders are beginning to take on.
Most companies would probably say they’d like to see “exponential” growth — until they realize the workload of their senior team might need to grow exponentially in order to do so.
When you sit down and read “The Exponential CFO,” a report from consulting firm BearingPoint, however, it becomes apparent that the increased scope of finance leaders’ roles doesn’t have to leave them exhausted. That’s where technology comes in, a point that those surveyed as part of the research already seem to understand. These are some of the most significant stats to prove it:
75%: The ratio of CFOs who believe technology will have a big impact on their business in general;
62%: Proportion of businesses than plan to leverage technology to facilitate analysis and decision making;
57%: Those planning to use technology to help with ongoing monitoring of business performance.
BearingPoint says companies need to make sure CFOs are well-equipped with the right tools to take on their increasingly important job.
“Frequently, customer-facing initiatives with a perceived direct impact on the top line and core production or service processes are receiving the funding, while the CFO’s internal processes are receiving the short end of the stick when it comes to innovation and the required investments,” the report says.
“However, in our opinion, companies should aim for a balance between innovation for external or core business purposes and the supporting of internal processes that also need to evolve.”
The online magazine Consultancy provided its own analysis of the BearingPoint study and recommended companies begin with their end goal in mind:
"One of the key changes for CFOs is that their time, the lion’s share of which is taxed by transactional and retrospective tasks is partly freed by new technologies that streamline those operations, or leverage results from those operations for more forward-looking projections. These projections can in discussion with the CEO be used to develop new opportunities, underpin, or proactively finance, business strategy."
There’s no magic moment when you’ll suddenly be called an exponential CFO, of course. BearingPoint suggests that those will rise to the challenge may be defined in many other ways. This includes “business partner, financial storyteller, change agent, shareholder guardian, learner and facilitator, and digital mentor.”
If that sounds like a lot of different skill sets to master, don’t panic. It also shows that, with the right tools, there are an exponential number of ways the CFOs of the future can shine.
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