Shifting the emphasis from shareholders to stakeholders
There is also a growing acceptance that CFOs should not focus narrowly on short-term profit targets but, instead, seek longer-term growth and returns. Their purpose-led organizations should be providing value for stakeholders that go beyond shareholders, including employees, consumers and local communities.
The survey results demonstrate this strategic shift of emphasis for private companies. Eighty-six percent agreed with the statement that “CFOs are increasingly seen by key stakeholders as the stewards of long-term value.”
But, of course, short-term financial performance cannot be ignored. Eighty-five percent agreed with the statement that “CFOs must balance the need for short-term results with a focus on long-term value.”
The tech-savvy CFO
CFOs are also taking on a wider role in terms of technology. Data is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity, and the CFO is well placed to leverage this effectively. Such a transformation goes beyond the finance function, often embracing the whole enterprise and supported by new technologies such as AI, robotic process automation and blockchain.
The survey results show that private company CFOs and their finance teams are ahead of their C-suite colleagues in this revolution. When asked if the finance function is “seen as identifying opportunities to utilize new technologies, such as AI, quicker than other teams,” 84% of respondents agreed. The finance function also rates highly in terms of innovation, agility and culture (see table).