The evolving CFO: bringing finance into a new age  

4 March 2019:

The role of the CFO has not always been viewed as a business-enabling position, simply because it so often requires the unglamorous work of budget-setting and financial risk analysis. And yet, with the right process improvements, technological integrations and mentality, the CFO can become a driver of superior business performance. If you’re a CFO, it’s time to think about how to move past the traditional remit of your role – and become a strategic authority and key player in your business’ growth.

Taking less responsibility
Taking less responsibility may seem like a counterintuitive way of becoming an authority, but one of the benefits of holding a considerable amount of power is being able to release it – to shift the decision-making responsibilities onto department heads and senior managers.

The job then becomes less a matter of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to spending requests and more about trusting your colleagues to make sensible, responsible decisions. And that’s probably for the best. A member of the C-Suite is often too high-level to know whether that new member of staff or that new software subscription represents value for money.

If the sales director requires an extra salesperson, they should possess the authority to hire one. If a piece of software will enable the marketing team to reach new audiences, the marketing director should be able to freely allocate part of the marketing budget to this.

Involving the CFO in this decision-making process is unnecessary. In fact, it may even be harmful. CFOs are unlikely to possess the required subject matter knowledge to make informed decisions – as a result of this, they will often go for the least risky option, which can hamper business development. Accordingly, you can benefit from offloading these decisions to budget-holders – it’ll give you more time and more resources to put towards strategically useful activity.

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Source: Financial Director

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