The Evolving Role of the CFO – A Look at the Past, Present and Future


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The CFO has transformed from a tactical, “number crunching”, budget-developing role into a strategic financier and partner.

The office of the CFO has become increasingly essential to the future of any organization. Over the last few decades, organizations have transitioned from needing the CFO to be a tactical record keeper and report generator to a strategic planner and partner. With this evolution comes a fresh set of challenges and focus areas.

This eBook outlines and explores the following topics:
• Challenges faced by the CFO today
• New expectations the CFO is required to meet
• How CFOs can lead their organizations into the future

Challenges Faced By The CFO Today

Data Security

According to a survey administered to CFOs across several industries, one of the biggest identified threats to an organization is data security. While safeguarding financial data against breaches is crucial, new regulatory standards have emerged from recent data privacy and cybersecurity threats, and it can be difficult for organizations to keep up with these as well.

Compliance and Data Integrity

Financial compliance is always on a CFO’s radar, whether they lead a publicly traded or privately-owned corporation. Spreadsheets, the most commonly used tool in the financial reporting process, are not the most reliable because they are prone to human error.

Navigating Unexpected Circumstances

In times of crisis and insecurity, everyone—including internal staff, C-Suite executives, investors, and other stakeholders—looks to the office of the CFO for financial guidance and reassurance.

The Changing Role of the CFO

Data Driver

Charged with more than overseeing financial processes, CFOs are expected to glean actionable insights from financial reporting to drive the organization forward. These data analytics are valuable in times of normalcy and especially in times of uncertainty when leadership needs to make fully informed business decisions quickly.

Strategic Planner

The CFO holds a prominent seat at the strategy planning table — as the executive with inside knowledge of the financials — as well as facilitating financial reporting, which corporate strategy is based on.

Relationship Builder

In order to effectively plan and strategize, CFOs need to gain a complete understanding of the business. This knowledge is particularly important to the CEO, who requires someone that can act as a sounding board and help prioritize focus areas for them.

The Future of Finance

In modern finance, spreadsheets are becoming obsolete, and accountants are growing tired of using their high-level knowledge and skills to perform the manual processes that spreadsheets perpetuate. As the CFO continues to lead their organization into the future, it’s time for the office of the CFO to become a prominent voice that provides valuable, strategic insights more than ever before.