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Outdated Misconceptions About CFOs

Many CEOs and business owners still have an mistaken view about the role of a modern CFO. As a recent article called “3 Outdated Misconceptions About CFOs” points out, digital and technology innovations have transformed not only business but also the increasing skills and responsibilities of CFOs.

In our experience as outsourced CFOs for companies here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we view the role of the CFO as a key, internal business partner to the CEO and business owner to drive improvements across multiple areas and processes.

Here are some of the insights from the article:

  • “I think the general mindset of a CFO is not what a lot of people that are not familiar with the business think. It’s not this pencil-pusher anymore, sitting over their screen and reading through paper spreadsheets and the like. They’re driving the business.”

  • “Similar to the misconception that CFOs are primarily bean counters, many believe CFOs are married to archaic bookkeeping and ‘control freaks’ with their accounting processes. In reality, a strategic CFO embraces tools and platforms that minimize error and automate financial processes for their teams.”

  • “With new technologies and solutions, it’s not only what you have within the four walls of your organization. You also connect to your environment, with the business network. You have full visibility into your whole value chain. And this is what enables an executive in general, but specifically the CFO, to drive the business.”

  • “It’s no longer ‘How did we perform last year?’ It’s, ‘Here’s where we are going to go in the next three years,’ because he or she foresees the results for their organization.”

  • “I find CFOs to be a lot less risk-averse on average than most people think. They are risk-conscious, but they’re willing to take a risk if they see a commensurate payout. All of these new technology capabilities are coming along and CFOs are suddenly realizing, ‘wait a minute, this completely changes the way we work.’ But, rather than viewing it as a risk, they’re viewing it as a way to get rid of all of these painful processes or elements of the business that they’ve had to deal with for so long.”

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