Apart from supervising and reporting on a company's overall spending, Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) have found that their roles have evolved. Advancements in technology and business culture now require CFOs to become more of a partner to Chief Executive Officers (CEOs).
While you generally need a strong work ethic, problem solving skills and a degree in business, finance or economics to be a CFO, the expanded scope of your role calls for some extra skill sets.
To become a better partner to the CEO, you can help with formulating strategies for growing the business. This includes searching for new opportunities, innovating and improving your business model and establishing key performance metrics. The CFOs knowledge in the company's financial standing is important in coming up with a better, data-driven strategic plan for your business.
As more and more small to medium enterprises (SMEs) go international, your CFO duties will include becoming a consultant on the sustainability of a business model and on the pros, cons and requirements of investing in or merging and partnering with companies from different parts of the world.
Traditionally, CFOs were in charge of the company's finance and accounting department. But, with the scope of tasks expanding to strategic planning and risk management, you can expect to have to guide, manage and motivate the rest of the company's teams - from sales, marketing and customer service to human resources, IT and administration.
Public Speaking and Communication
CFOs now have to share the responsibility of appearing before the media, employees and investors. With a new emphasis on everyone being an active shareholder of a company - in stocks and in man-hours - a CFO needs to be able to communicate the company's financial strategies and performance whether at a live assembly, in podcasts or in blogs and newsletters.
The role of a CFO will continue to evolve together with the rest of the F&A industry. Having these skills and with the support of your finance and accounting team, you can become a more effective and innovative CFO, a better partner to your CEO, and a reliable leader in your organization
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This article was first posted 20 July 2014 and updated 19 August 2020.