The Developing Roles of the Modern CFO

Chief Financial Officers play a vital role in corporations all over the world. They have been doing so since companies began adding the position to their rosters a few decades ago. Since that time, the majority of a CFOs work has been focused on managing a corporation’s financial situation. CFOs have been in charge of investments, acquisitions, and large company wide monetary issues, as well as the finances behind acquisitions and sales of assets. CFOs have always had a full plate, but like many positions in today’s business climate, employees and management are taking on more and more responsibility. This can be unfortunate for employees who find themselves being spread rather thin, but greater efficiency is certainly good for business. CFOs have recently been undergoing a transformation out of their traditional roles, and into a more advanced position.

CFOs Taking on More

A recent pattern in CFO work involves being a supportive assistant to the CEO. The financial and market knowledge that a CFO possesses has become vital information for large corporate decisions, which CEOs and their teams regularly make.

Additionally, an association of accountants and financial professionals in business, the IMA, released an article covering even more shifts in a CFO’s responsibility at many corporations. There is also a discussion of the likely continuation of a pattern of increased responsibility for CFOs.

In the article, the authors singled out two primary changes in the role of CFOs that IMA sees continuing into the future:

Stakeholder Management: Tomorrow’s CFOs will increasingly need to excel at dealing with the media and brokering external relationships that matter for the face of the business.”

Reporting:  The increased importance of corporate social responsibility will present additional challenges for the CFO moving forward”

These two areas were not previously considered to be the CFO’s responsibility, but as the position gains more flexibility and becomes a source of knowledge backed up by solid data, companies will call on the CFO to do more. The nine most important issues for the future CFO to pay attention to are as follows: “regulation, globalization, technology, risk management, transforming finance, stakeholder engagement, strategy, integrated reporting, and talent.”

It looks like the CFOs of 2013 and the more distant future have a lot of work cut out for them.

What do you think about the developing role of the CFO?