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Leadership, Strategic Skills Leave Accounting in the Dust - CFO Magazine

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Another recent post in CFO Magazine weighed in on the growing trend of CFOs needing to be more than glorified accountants. This post is by an executive recruiter focused on CFOs and is an interesting perspective.

The author states clearly that:

“It’s pure and simple: Leadership and strategic ability are more important than technical accounting skills for today’s CFO.”

The role of the CFO is increasingly growing beyond overseeing accounting and bookkeeping. The modern CFO needs to provide leadership, insight, and impact beyond accounting.

“This trend has heavily influenced the CFO position over most of the last 25 years. The role historically focused on stewardship of the backward-looking financial results, forward-looking financial projections, and the related funding and financing in support of those projections. Mix in tax planning and investor relations activities, and you get a strong CFO who can manage accounting, financial planning and analysis, treasury, corporate development, and IR, to the applause of a satisfied CEO and a supportive board.

"Now, fast forward to 2016. The pressure on CEOs and CFOs to produce results now and avoid missteps or PR disasters (see Chipotle) is almost unmanageable. The importance of a CFO with leadership, strategic vision, conviction, and character, who focuses on the long term while being flexible and aware to address short-term pressures, cannot be understated.”

This is clearly evident here in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, in particular. Strategic skills in addition to traditional finance skills are incredibly important:

“The CFO is a key value creator for an organization. The highest priority for unlocking value for today’s finance chief should be placed on leadership and strategic abilities.”

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