As CEO’s increasingly become more aggressive on their approach to taking on risk as it relates to their strategic growth, the CFO’s role has quickly evolved from that of a number cruncher to that of a strategic partner working to help navigate the CEO in the right direction. Recently, CFO.com has expressed its view on the importance of the CFO’s expanding role and the key steps required for them to become the CEO’s most trusted strategic adviser. The full article from Kathy Crusco, Executive Vice President and CFO of Epicor, can be seen in full at the end of this blog.
As Kathy states in the article, a recent study from Ventana Research found that “just 19% of CFOs described their organizational influence as ‘strategic,’ while 68% said they provide operational support and 13% said they provide information with no strategic input at all – indicating a critical deficit in the CFO suite.” This highlights the critical need for CFOs to take the right steps in becoming a trusted strategic influencer for their organization.
So, what can be done to achieve this? In the article, Kathy breaks these out into 8 key steps, summarized below:
8 Key Steps to Becoming the CEO’s Trusted Strategic Adviser
- Dig Deep – The CFO can’t afford to just focus on the numbers. They must fully understand the business and key drivers of the organization.
- Build a Great Team and Delegate Responsibilities – Developing a strong team and delegating responsibility for reporting and day-to-day running of the finance department allows the CFO to focus on business transformation growth areas, and investors.
- Avoid Politics – The CFO must be able to listen with an open mind and be willing to change opinions based on the best interest of the organization.
- Be Prepared to Course-Correct Strategy – CFOs must go beyond just providing raw data to further providing advice on when to course-correct if performance is lacking.
- The World is Watching – CFOs must be aware of not only regulations and requirements related to the financials, but also the public perceptions of all key decisions being made.
- The Cult of Personality – By learning the CEO’s personal preferences, a CFO gains the understanding of how to best collaborate.
- Always be Transparent – The CFO must also help the CEO in ensuring the right processes and values are in place across the company while ensuring the data provided is accurate.
- Know All Roles – Meeting with leaders across divisions to understand both what drives and hinders success gives the CFO an extra layer of data to help make the best and most holistic decisions.
These steps and the article can be seen in full HERE.
Written by: Kelli Shoevlin