It’s important for every member of an organization’s management, from the CEO to the Corporate Treasurer, to recognize the rapidly changing role of the CFO and what they can bring to the organization. When freed of past obligations that used to define the role of the CFO, CFOs can bring to bear their unique knowledge of finances, risk, opportunities, and other related information to help organizations make important decisions about the future of their companies.
A recent interview of Alan Johnson FCCA, the Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Board of Directors, Jeronimo Martins, provides an excellent overview of the current CFO position, current challenges, and other important perceptions relating to the position.
One of the biggest current challenges for CFOs is that they make sure they can make robust and sound investment decisions balance while also dealing with the uncertainties and risk that is present in riskier (but often more profitable) international markets. As many firms, especially larger ones, recognize the importance of diversifying investments and engaging in international opportunities abroad, CFOs are faced with more volatile and rapidly changing environments that they are less familiar with.
Another important aspect that Alan Johnson touched on is what priorities CFOs need to be focusing on as they move forward. He believes that CFOs need to focus on transforming their firm’s function “to reduce the cost of the function and make it much more effective.” Doing so releases resources and makes them more effective at building the firm overall. Additionally, forming a long-term strategic strategy or business plan should also be a strong priority according to Alan Johnson.
Alan Johnson is also a proponent of the CFO supporting a strong talent agenda for the organization. As consumers and customers become more diverse it requires a much more diverse talent pool in any business. CFOs and finance leadership employees are becoming more important across the business in a collaborative role. Growing talent that is diverse and skilled will enable the organization to perform better and ultimately reach more customers.[via ACCA Global]