Technology is changing not only businesses and markets, but also traditional roles with companies. CGA has been at the forefront of the transformation of the CFO role into a blend of finance, strategic, and operations. It’s not enough to say to the CEO / Founder / Owner of a startup or small business to say, “Here are the numbers.” It’s equally as important to be able to say, “Here is what the numbers mean and here are ways we can improve them.”
This recent article about what the CFO role would look like in 5 years discusses some of the drivers of this trend. While this article is written from the perspective of large companies, we see an even faster move in these trends with small businesses and startups here in the San Francisco Bay Area. CFOs, more than ever, are proactively involved in driving revenues, growth, margins, profits, and cash flow.
Here are some of the key excerpts from the article:
“First, they will need to be more digitally sophisticated and tech-savvy in order to leverage technological innovations — from the cloud to big data, data analytics, and visualization — to advance their finance agenda and finance’s ability to partner with the business.”
“Five years from now, a world-class finance organization may be defined by how well it uses innovative business tools and applications that leverage technologies like mobility, software-as-a-service, data visualization, predictive and cognitive analytics, and even social media to drive cost efficiencies, identify emerging business opportunities, sound the alarm when their organization is at risk, and help course-correct corporate strategy.”
“Already CFOs and their teams have troves of data at their fingertips to help address these and other questions. Five years from now, they’ll have even more — and better — ways to collect and store it. The challenge for finance is to transform that data into valuable and actionable insights. To do so, CFOs will have to be more strategic in thinking about how they can help drive their organization’s own transformation to a more digitally oriented world. That includes developing the capital capacity and allocation plan to achieve digital strategic objectives, and identifying the metrics to measure the success of digital investments. That will likely require more focus on their roles as catalysts, as well as strategists.”
“CFOs can lead the way by first addressing several critical items. One is mapping out the issues and questions that business leaders want technologies like big data and data analytics to help answer. Another is figuring out how to collect and house the data in a manner that’s as easily accessible as possible. And, they should refocus the finance talent agenda to bring into the organization people who have the skill sets to retrieve the data, interpret it, and use tools such as data visualization to transform the insights into a story that’s strategic and easily understood.”
“A big differentiator separating highly successful CFOs from others will be the ability to operationalize and execute company strategy based on data-driven insights. Many CEOs and boards already expect the CFO to expand his or her role to that of strategic adviser on growing the organization, as well as serving as the steward of the bottom line. Come 2020, as that expectation increases, CFOs may need to bring a much more multidisciplinary skill set to the job as well as broader career experiences….”