The DNA of the CFO

Demand for the CFO's unique perspective and discipline

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“It’s increasingly the case that finance directors, because of their skills, are put in charge of areas like IT, property and logistics.” – Ian Dyson, CFO of Marks & Spencer

Traditional finance skills of analysis, reporting and control are in demand outside of the finance function and the job of the CFO is broadening far beyond its technical heartland into a role that is much more “strategic” — in the broadest sense of the word.

Leading CFOs are overturning outmoded perceptions of finance as “business prevention units” and repositioning the function as an enabling partner to the business. For many CFOs, the acid test is the extent to which business managers consult them for advice on key aspects of strategy. Just over half of respondents agree that this now takes place routinely.

Given their firm grasp of finance fundamentals and their management strengths, a growing number of CFOs are adding operational responsibilities for functions such as IT or Property to their portfolios.

The potential for a conflict of interest this may present adds to the complexity of the role. CFOs have a duty to be the independent, objective voice of the executive management suite, and this can be tested by having an additional operational role that requires winning resource allocation to be successful.