Top barriers to effectiveness
“The biggest barrier to being more effective is engaging and empowering middle management to execute on the organisation’s strategy.”
Executive Director Finance,
National Australia Bank Limited
Asked what stopped them from being effective, gaps in personal or finance team skills were the least of these CFOs’ concerns. Internal issues — including bureaucracy, inadequate change capabilities and poor relationships — loomed large.
Despite operating in some of the most challenging times of their careers, CFOs rated internal bureaucracy and poor inter-departmental relations and internal communications on an equal footing with the difficult economic environment.
These comments correlate to the importance of positive stakeholder engagement and the need for a winning culture that responds to volatility, embraces major business and change programs and is flexible to the needs of stakeholders and the business.
As the CFO becomes even more critical to organisational success, addressing these issues will become a priority for organisations wishing to retain their vital strategic adviser.
A challenging but satisfying role
In challenging economic conditions, organisations across Asia–Pacific are increasingly turning to their CFOs for strategic advice. CFOs are working closely with CEOs as the architects of corporate strategy.
This strategic adviser role is an important step in organisational maturity, supporting more disciplined decision-making. The danger is that, in an environment of cost cutting, this broadening remit will not be properly resourced.
Already, a quarter of CFOs are struggling to find the time to focus on corporate strategy. However, as their peers are shifting and the executives and boards are expecting this as part of their mandate, CFOs will need to focus on strategic insights if they are to move into the top eschalon of CFO roles.